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Security a Must for Auto GbE Switch

Marvell to roll out 'purpose-built' switch for automotive
7/24/2017 11:11 AM EDT
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Architecture makes all the difference, I would think
Bert22306   7/26/2017 9:10:44 PM
The idea of placing a lot of security emphasis on "switches in the middle" is somewhat unorthodox, although perhaps as one of many measures, it's a good idea. Usually, security has to be end-to-end to be credible. Because otherwise, those edge interfaces from ECUs to the network, and from the network to ECUs, remain vulnerable. This also depends on what attack vectors are postulated. Would a hacker manage to intrude at those vulnerable edge interfaces between network and ECUs?

The other thing is speed. These speculations, whether 1 Gb/s is enough or not, are no doubt based on assumptions about the architecure. I have no idea whether they are believable, but for instance, are we assuming that video data to video processors would travel over the same Ethernet infrastruture as engine controls, steering, and brakes? Probably not. Cars are small, so potentially, video sensor data can be sent without too much compression, even hardwired, to one or more video processors in the car, without involving any Ethernet yet.

It could be analyzed at these locations, to then generate much lower rate control messages which would be sent over a control Ethernet. And in some cases, the video streams also compressed for delivery to displays for human consumption, creating a much lower bit rate than the sensors originally create.

Usually, one would expect different control loops to exist, some of them very localized and fast, between sensors and controls, others traveling further afield, slower, perhaps even involving those slow-witted humans! Think, for example, about ABS. Or spark advance and valve timing. There's no reason for these tight control loops to be wandering over Ethernets. Or if they do at all, it would only be for slow monitoring messages, not for the actual control messages. Like, "ABS is active." That sort of thing might go across the network, but it's not a critical signal.

Good stuff. Big changes in the works.

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