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Quantum-Safe Security Solutions for V2X Ecosystems

V2X (vehicle-to-everything) refers to a smart, holistic ecosystem where all vehicles and their surrounding infrastructure are interconnected. While the move to this system is driven by advances in computing and communication technologies, the automotive industry must protect itself against an evolving threat landscape and the impending quantum age.

The Challenge of Securing V2X Ecosystems

The automotive industry is in a major transition to connect, automate and electrify vehicles and to offer Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). This requires the use of a V2X ecosystem, where data is transmitted on-demand between data centres, the vehicle sensors and the vehicle controllers using high performance networks.

The need to exchange data between back-end systems and vehicles – as well as between vehicles directly – makes these systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which could lead to expensive vehicle recalls, significant safety risks and threats to human life. In turn, this exposes vehicle manufacturers and organisations tasked with infrastructure management to substantial liability.

Indeed, the large volume of data expected to transition through V2X ecosystems – such as telematics and infotainment, vehicle and maintenance information, car owners’ personal and financial data – represents a true gold mine.

Cyber criminals are aware of this. As the threat landscape evolves, the automotive sector is being targeted by not only frontal attacks on vehicle control systems (during systems updates and maintenance, for example), but also back-end breaches of the cloud or hybrid networks that form the data communication layer.

This leads to the need for both automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and MaaS providers to invest in cloud security, network security and in-vehicle security.

IDQ’s range of quantum-safe security solutions are specifically designed to secure data in motion across V2X ecosystems against existing and emerging threats, including those posed by quantum computing.

Technologies supporting V2X

Quantum computing can be used for the machine and deep learning algorithms required to enable self-driving cars, however it can also pose a cybersecurity threat to V2X ecosystems. Current RSA/ECC-based encryption standards that are widely-used in the automotive world are not considered quantum-safe. If these networks come under quantum attack, these encryption standards could be broken in a matter of minutes.

The development of 5G networks enables low latency system response for vehicle to back-end communication, as well as high data communication rates. It is imperative that data transmitted over these networks is quantum-safe as much of it will be safety critical.

Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies are currently being researched by the automotive industry, especially in the V2X context. Ensuring that these blocks are resistant to quantum attacks requires strong random number generation.

The cloud and hybrid networks that will form the back-end infrastructure will be responsible for transmitting large volumes of Big Data containing a wealth of information. Should cyber criminals gain access to these networks, they would be able to steal this data for illegitimate use or – more concerningly – inject rogue data that could compromise data integrity and put lives at risk.

Quantum-Safe Security for V2X Ecosystems

It is estimated that cyber-attacks could be performed with the help of quantum computers within the next 10-15 years. As vehicles stay in service typically for more than 10 years, the time for manufacturers to act is now.

From a V2X ecosystem security perspective, vehicle systems, vehicle-to-vehicle networks, vehicle-to-infrastructure networks and back-end systems must be future-proofed by introducing quantum-safe cryptographic solutions as a priority.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD)

Quantum Key Generation and Quantum Key Distribution are two of the foundation technologies of quantum-safe security. Alongside the evolving use of quantum-safe algorithms, they will form the backbone of the next generation of secure V2X communication networks.

The security of any cryptographic system is determined by the security of its keys. These keys play an integral role in ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data in motion; alongside the authentication, non-repudiation and access control of the parties involved in the data exchange. For keys to be truly secure, they need to be unique, truly random and stored/distributed securely.

IDQ’s Cerberis Quantum Key Distribution range is the world’s first carrier-grade QKD platform that provides provably secure key exchange. The range exploits a fundamental principle of quantum physics to exchange cryptographic keys over networks, ensuring long-term protection and forward secrecy.

QKD can typically be used to protect data exchange inside the back-end infrastructure, which is a primary target for attackers due to the massive amount of sensitive data that can be stolen at a time.

Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG)

Strong key generation is key to ensure a third party cannot guess or deduce the key. Therefore, the use of truly random numbers is crucial. Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG) serves this purpose well; instantly strengthening existing cryptographic mechanisms and ensuring new quantum resistant algorithms will remain robust.

QRNG should be included now, whereas the aforementioned algorithms can be securely upgraded by software over-the-air updates in the future.

The Quantis QRNG Chip is the world’s smallest true Quantum Random Number Generator. Designed and manufactured in collaboration with SK Telecom, the Quantis QRNG chip is ideal for integration into automotive HSMs, where its compact size, low cost, low power consumption and resistance to external environmental perturbations are critical.

As a result, the Quantis QRNG Chip is AEC-Q100 certified, with integrated NIST 800-90A/B/C compliant DRBG post-processing.

The combination of QRNG and QKD ensures that keys are generated with high entropy and distributed safely across the network. Vehicular communications are encrypted at a level where they are impervious to both current and ‘hack now, crack later’ attacks, and can be combined with quantum resistant algorithms (QRAs) without major software or hardware upheaval, once they become available.


What threat does Quantum Computing pose to Connected and Automated Vehicles?
ID Quantique has contributed to the latest SAE EDGE™ Research Report, titled “Unsettled Topics Concerning the Impact of Quantum Technologies on Automotive Cybersecurity”, which considers a number of unresolved questions around the impact that quantum computing will have on the security of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) ecosystems.