Meeting the challenges of secure mobile connectivity

Security Measures to ensure data security in the off-highway OEM industry 

Executive Summary

In today's competitive landscape, businesses rely on instant access to data for informed decision-making and gaining a competitive edge. This is especially true in telematics, where the challenge lies in providing real-time data access while ensuring security, particularly given the low-level nature of the CAN protocol used for data transmission. Meeting this demand requires wireless and secure data transmission, coupled with robust software and application security measures. Partnering with a trusted telematics provider is crucial for businesses seeking cutting-edge solutions that prioritize data security. Proemion is committed to leading the way in secure telematics solutions. As part of our commitment, we've implemented various measures to prioritize data security, including appointing a dedicated "Head of Security" to oversee all safety protocols. 

Introduction

In an era defined by digitalization data and its security stand as paramount concerns, particularly in the realm of telematics. This paper looks at the key considerations, OEMs should take into account when exploring the implementation of a telematics solution. Touching upon issues like GDPR compliance, user authentication, and data control, which echo broader concerns across networked domains.  

In the middle of the complexity of off-highway industry projects and the push for system and product-neutral databases, the need for uniform data standards emerges as a pressing necessity. The convergence of disruptive technologies, including AI, robotics, IoT, and IoE, propels us into the fourth industrial revolution, heightening the imperative for secure solutions in cloud communication. Understanding what differentiates IoE from IoT can be tricky at first pass. However, it’s useful to think of IoT as a more basic network of devices than IoE. Without the same level of cohesive “intelligence” that allows IoE devices to function as a truly unified system. 

“Man-in-the-middle” attacks are a consistent and significant threat to insecure networks. Such exploits often employ fake base stations known as IMSI catchers (International Mobile Subscriber Identity- catchers). Alternatively, Stingrays that take advantage of a device’s propensity to prioritize and connect to closer, stronger signals. 

Man-in-the-middle attacks are just one of the security challenges associated with delivering data over-the-air using the CAN protocol. Others include mutual authentication, channel encryption, and more. So, the burning question remains, “what measures can you take to ensure optimal security” − including what is realistic and actionable? 

Proemion, with its extensive experience in delivering connectivity solutions and processing vast amounts of data, emerges as a key player in this landscape, offering insights into cyber and information security techniques developed over years of providing top-notch telematics solutions.  

In this white paper, we will explore the cyber and information security techniques we’ve developed and adopted during our long history of designing and building top-notch telematics solutions conceived to enhance performance and safety.

Common security risks to be aware of

In today's wireless data landscape, ensuring secure transmissions is paramount. Off-highway telematics, where devices relay machine data to central systems, poses various risks if overlooked. These encompass potential interference with machine control, internal data disclosure, and unauthorized device access.  

For instance, unauthorized individuals could seize control of machinery, jeopardizing work site safety. Moreover, telematics data could expose sensitive information, leading to competitive disadvantages or disrupting operations through data manipulation.  

Common security vulnerabilities in off-highway telematics include insufficient encryption, authentication gaps, and reliance on outdated devices/software. Weak encryption, especially during data transmission and idle mode, poses significant security threats. Additionally, inadequate authentication may permit unauthorized telematics system access.

Security Best Practice

Users should prioritize security measures when choosing a telematics solution and evaluate how telematics providers implement security standards and involve security experts in development. On top of that, regular reviews of security infrastructure and sharing information on security incidents are essential for comprehensive data protection. 

Secure Software and the Software Development Lifecycle

It’s essential to integrate security best practices into the SDLC (software development lifecycle) and to ensure that applications developed in-house meet the highest standards from design and development right through to deployment to operations. Getting this right helps to mitigate risks from internal as well as external security threats. 

Security best practices cover a wide range of topics from training to secure coding standards, and from ensuring the security of 3rd party components to penetration testing.

Software Development – firmly focused on security

Here are some specific measures we recommend OEMs to look out for in the selection and development of customer-centric software solutions.

Security Training

A security gate should be in place before code can reach production, with all gatekeepers being required to participate in secure coding training. All other developers should also be encouraged and given ample time to participate. 

Secure development training should be provided in a hands-on, practical way, and is highly relevant to the technology stack with which developers work. For best results, you should track participation and provide feedback to team leads.

Secure Coding Standards

A set of Secure Coding Standards should not only address the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities but include many other relevant practices from well-known secure coding guidelines.  

These include additional OWASP guidelines and more. Any code that reaches production servers should adhere to these standards, which are ideally enforced by a combination of automated or manual testing and code reviews. 

Peer Code Reviews

Gatekeepers perform an inherent or explicit security code review on code written by developers. This procedure helps to ensure compliance with our Security Standards and the discovery of potential issues before merging the code.

3rd Party Components

Managing the source code in the code repository management tools, you benefit from the 3rd party component vulnerability alerts provided by the platform. Alerts are assessed and acted upon according to their severity and the risk they represent.

Automated Testing

The commitment to continuous improvement involves addressing security issues by incorporating unit or integration tests whenever possible and practical to prevent recurrence of the same issue in the future.

Internal Penetration Testing

Internal penetration tests should be performed regularly on any Apps. Any vulnerability discovered can then be treated according to its severity and the risk it represents. 

Secure Deployments

The applications are deployed to hardened environments, typically configured through automation. After careful review, third-party modules are integrated into the automation tooling to enforce infrastructure hardening according to the latest security best practices.

Cryptography

A comprehensive Cryptography Policy should be in place to ensure data security. This includes encrypted data transmission as well as an encrypted web interface to prevent unauthorized access.

Communication Units

Securing communications between Communication Units (CUs) and servers and guaranteeing the security of devices is of the utmost importance, should be a top priority. To achieve this goal, numerous security controls need to be implemented, including technical and organizational measures to mitigate potential risks.

Authentication

Implementing mutual authentication between CUs and the communication server is crucial. This can mean utilizing standard technologies, including TLS 1.2 for server authentication and encrypted communications.

Communications

Any communication on public channels (via the Internet) between system components should be encrypted (for example using TLS) unless explicitly configured otherwise – e.g., for regulatory compliance where applicable. This specific method of communicating prevents eavesdropping or interference with communications by man-in-the-middle attackers.

Firmware Updates

Securing Firmware updates with signatures provided by well-known algorithms and implementations. Unauthorized parties are not able to sign rogue firmware using a dedicated, air-gapped server with an encrypted volume for critical storage. Implement a four-eyes principle and healthy controls around signing key access and signature verification also ensures security.

Key Management and the Signing Process

By recommended best practices, the firmware is signing private keys, and the telematics provider should manage the whole signing process. 

Another option for crucial management is to allow clients to manage their firmware images. However, doing so may impact on some aspects of delivery, making them more complex or challenging. A good telematics provider will fully support their clients, helping with configuration should they want to go this route.

Server Location Check

Conducting a thorough examination of the server or cloud where telematics data is stored holds paramount importance. This step ensures the preservation of data integrity and adherence to local regulations governing data storage and management.

Security at Proemion

Our SSDLC (Secure Software Development Lifecycle) forms part of our organization wide Security Program. SSDLC helps us uncover and address potential security issues as early as possible. It provides our customers with a high level of assurance in the delivery of secure software. 

In line with our ambition to remain at the forefront of our industry, our security program is constantly evolving and is overseen by a dedicated Head of Cyber and Information Security.

Functional Overview – keeping sensitive data away from bad actors

Here is an overview of the security measures we use to ensure the secure transmission of data across different devices and to minimize the possibility of data interception. 

All system components (including devices and our cloud services) implement industry-standard encrypted communication (TLS) with mutual authentication. This system prevents “man-in-the-middle” attacks, which are a significant cause for concern on insecure networks. 

Devices are authenticated to web services using their private keys stored securely in TPM chips. Device firmware images are signed, and well-known, tested algorithms and implementations verify signatures. 

The diagram below graphically illustrates how system components function together.

System Overview – secure by design

The systems developed by Proemion transmit data from a CAN device installed on the monitored vehicle or machine. The CAN device acts as an informal network that allows ECUs (Electronic Control Units) to communicate without the need for complex, dedicated wiring. 

Data then passes through a firewall and is authenticated before populating the Proemion DataPlatform. From which it passes through a second firewall before being served to the user via an online browser. 

The architecture is highly secure from the outset, so our customers can rest assured that they can fend off man-in-the-middle attacks. 

The following diagram shows, in more detail, how data flows to facilitate our services.

Secure Software and the Software Development Lifecycle 

It’s external security threats. 

Security best practices cover a wide range of topics from training to secure coding standards, and from ensuring the security of 3rd party components to penetration testing. 

Proemion has long been recognized as an industry leader when it comes to developing software solutions securely and in line with industry best practices. 

Our SSDLC (Secure Software Development Lifecycle) forms part of our organization-wide Security Program. SSDLC helps us uncover and address potential security issues as early as possible. It provides our customers with a high level of assurance in the delivery of secure software.

Conclusion

Data security in construction telematics is crucial to mitigate risks and ensure a secure digital construction site. A proactive approach, well-thought-out security measures and collaboration with experts are essential to successfully navigate the path to digital transformation. The emphasis on the importance of data standards and data security highlights the challenges, but also the opportunities, facing the construction industry. Progress towards a more efficient and sustainable construction industry requires not only technological innovation, but also joint efforts to establish standards and security measures. 

Proemion’s customer base of globally respected industrial equipment companies can be confident they are partnering with a world-class provider of telematics services. 

They know from experience that Proemion can provide a solution for the most demanding of applications. Proemion can also provide solutions that are underpinned by industry-leading security and built on a solid base of more than 30 years at the forefront of developments in telematics. 

These days, technology advances rapidly. Proemion remains firmly committed to meeting the challenges this represents with agile, state-of-the-art telematics solutions that control vehicles and machinery securely from anywhere in the world. 

If you would like to discover how we can help you unlock your potential with industry-leading telematics solutions, please get in touch with Proemion today.

Enter headline here