Cryptographic key management for the vehicles of tomorrow

Hicks, Christopher Richard Allden ORCID: 0000-0002-6340-004X (2020). Cryptographic key management for the vehicles of tomorrow. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (2MB) | Preview


The automotive industry is undergoing a major transformation process in which nearly every part of the vehicle is becoming digital and connected. Modern vehicles are often connected to the internet, feature several wireless interfaces and will soon communicate directly with surrounding vehicles and roadside infrastructure using V2X technology. However, this transformation has not yet been paralleled by the development of techniques or standards which address the cyber security challenges posed by these systems. The automotive industry has historically failed to use secure cryptography or appropriate key management techniques and there is no sign that things have improved.

In this thesis, we present several new cryptographic and key management flaws in an existing automotive immobiliser system and we develop two new V2X architectures for improving the safety and privacy of tomorrow’s connected and autonomous vehicles. Specifically, we study the AUT64 automotive block cipher and its associated authentication protocol in a real-world immobiliser system. Despite having a 120~bit key, we find a number of flaws in the system which we combine to present several practical key-recovery attacks.

Our first new V2X architecture, IFAL, provides a practical and secure improvement to the leading European standard for V2X. IFAL introduces a new certificate issuance mechanism that eliminates the trade-off between pseudonym duration and bandwidth. Our second architecture, VDAA, addresses the need for efficient techniques that preserve vehicle privacy despite dishonest or colluding certificate authorities.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Computer Science
Funders: Other
Other Funders: L3-TRL
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year