Cybersecurity in the Automotive Sector (Shielding Vehicles from Cyber Threats)

Mr. Neeraj Soni
Mr. Neeraj Soni
Researcher - Policy & Advocacy, CyberPeace
Nov 21, 2023


With the rapid advancement in technologies, vehicles are also being transformed into moving data centre. There is an introduction of connectivity, driver assistance systems, advanced software systems, automated systems and other modern technologies are being deployed to make the experience of users more advanced and joyful. Software plays an important role in the overall functionality and convenience of the vehicle. For example, Advanced technologies like keyless entry and voice assistance, censor cameras and communication technologies are being incorporated into modern vehicles. Addressing the cyber security concerns in the vehicles the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has proposed standard Cyber Security and Management Systems (CSMS) rules for specific categories of four-wheelers, including both passenger and commercial vehicles. The goal is to protect these vehicles and their functions against cyber-attacks or vulnerabilities. This move will aim to ensure standardized cybersecurity measures in the automotive industry. These proposed standards will put forth certain responsibilities on the vehicle manufacturers to implement suitable and proportional measures to secure dedicated environments and to take steps to ensure cyber security. 

The New Mandate

The new set of standards requires automobile manufacturers to install a new cybersecurity management system, which will be inclusive of protection against several cyberattacks on the vehicle’s autonomous driving functions, electronic control unit, connected functions, and infotainment systems. The proposed automotive industry standards aim to fortify vehicles against cyberattacks. These standards, expected to be notified by early next month, will apply to all M and N category vehicles. This includes passenger vehicles, goods carriers, and even tractors if they possess even a single electronic control unit. The need for enhanced cybersecurity in the automotive sector is palpable. Modern vehicles, equipped with advanced technologies, are highly prone to cyberattacks. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has thus taken a precautionary measure to safeguard all new-age commercial and private vehicles against cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Cyber Security and Management Systems (CSMS)

The proposed standards by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) clarify that CSMS refers to a systematic risk-based strategy that defines organisational procedures, roles, and governance to manage and mitigate risks connected with cyber threats to vehicles, eventually safeguarding them from cyberattacks. According to the draft regulations, all manufacturers will be required to install a cyber security management system in their vehicles and provide the government with a certificate of compliance at the time of vehicle type certification.

Electrical vehicle charging system

Electric vehicle charging stations could also be susceptible and prone to cyber threats and vulnerabilities, which significantly requires to have in place standards to prevent them. It is highlighted that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a designated authority to track and monitor cybersecurity incidents in India, had received reports of vulnerabilities in products and applications related to electric vehicle charging stations. Electric cars or vehicles becoming increasingly popular as the world shifts to green technology. EV owners may charge their cars at charging points in convenient spots. When you charge an EV at a charging station, data transfers between the car, the charging station, and the company that owns the device. This trail of data sharing and EV charging stations in many ways can be exploited by the bad actors. Some of the threats may include Malware, remote manipulation, and disturbing charging stations, social engineering attacks, compromised aftermarket devices etc.


Cyber security is necessary in view of the increased connectivity and use of software systems and other modern technologies in vehicles. As the automotive industry continues to adopt advanced technologies, it will become increasingly important that organizations take a proactive approach to ensure cybersecurity in the vehicles. A balanced approach between technology innovation and security measures will be instrumental in ensuring the cybersecurity aspect in the automotive industry. The recent proposed policy standard by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) can be seen as a commendable step to make the automotive industry cyber-resilient and safe for everyone.


Nov 21, 2023
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