Jens R. Ziehn, Masoud Roschani, Miriam Ruf, Dennis Bruestle, Jürgen Beyerer, Melanie Helmer
November 19, 2020
With advances in automated and connected driving, secure communication is increasingly becoming a safety-critical function. Injection of manipulated radio messages into traffic can cause severe accidents in the foreseeable future, and can currently be achieved without having to manipulate on-board vehicle systems directly, for example by hijacking cellphones instead and using these as senders. Thereby, large-scale attacks on vehicles can be executed remotely, and target relatively vulnerable devices. To mitigate remaining vulnerabilities in current automotive security architectures, this paper proposes a secondary communication channel using vehicle head and taillights. In contrast to existing approaches, this method allows both to achieve a sufficient data rate and to extract the angular position of the sender, by means of an imaging process which only requires close-to-market, cost-efficient technology. Through this, injecting false messages by masquerading as a different sender is considerably more challenging: The receiver can verify a message’s source position with the supposed position of the sender, e.g. by using on-board sensors or communicated information. Thereby, reliably faking both the communicated messages and the position of the sender will require direct manipulation of on-board vehicle systems, raising the security level of the function accordingly, and precluding low-threshold, wide-range attacks.