Secure Firmware Updates over the Air in Intelligent Vehicles
Paper in proceedings, 2008
Modern intelligent vehicles have electronic control units containing firmware that enables various functions in the vehicle. New firmware versions are constantly developed to remove bugs and improve functionality. Automobile manufacturers have traditionally performed firmware updates over cables but in the near future they are aiming at conducting firmware updates over the air, which would allow faster updates and improved safety for the driver.
In this paper, we present a protocol for secure firmware updates over the air. The protocol provides data integrity, data authentication, data confidentiality, and freshness.
In our protocol, a hash chain is created of the firmware, and the first packet is signed by a trusted source, thus authenticating the whole chain. Moreover, the packets are encrypted using symmetric keys. We discuss the practical considerations that exist for implementing our protocol and show that the protocol is computationally efficient, has low memory overhead, and is suitable for wireless communication. Therefore, it is well suited to the limited hardware resources in the wireless vehicle environment.
Firmware updates over the air