Issue: Apr 2014

Dear Tesla: Security is Not a Retrofit

by Mayukh Gon, CEO and Founder, PerfectCloud

The bedrock of a good life is security. From infancy through school, at work, at home, in our vehicles, in our online activities – we all want both physical and virtual security.

It was revealed last week that venerable automaker Tesla (you know, the one that designed and manufactured the $59,000 - $100,000+ electric Model S) had less-than-optimal security around the iOS app that lets Model S owners unlock their cars. The problem was an easily cracked password system that allowed persistent hackers to both find and unlock the high-end cars.

If the luxury Tesla has weak password protocols, what might that say about what’s in place in the less exotic vehicles driven by the rest of us?  What might that mean for drivers?

The Tesla mishap is a microcosm of much larger technology security concerns. 

As the auto industry moves closer to autonomous vehicles in the next several years, the security of the multiple systems needed for driverless vehicles should be an imperative. If someone hacks into a vehicle’s systems – more than just the lock system like in the Tesla -- what might the results be? Could a hacker remotely disable the vehicle? Could someone with ill intent cause a car’s airbags to deploy while the vehicle is operating on the highway? 

These types of security concerns are certainly not unique to automakers. Our lives are increasingly touched by automation and connectivity in our homes, at work -- everywhere. Security must be the bedrock rather than an afterthought.  Technologies exist today that remove the vulnerabilities by eliminating single points of failure.

Let’s not be those people who install alarm systems after being burglarized. That’s security as a retrofit, and it’s simply not practical in our increasingly connected world. 

About Mayukh Gon

Mayukh is the Founder and CEO of PerfectCloud, an innovative cloud company that specializes in providing Identity as a Service (IaaS), single sign-on and data encryption for businesses. Mayukh has over 17 years of experience working in the technology industry, specifically middle-ware technologies, software development and identity and access management. He has worked with start-ups, such as Vocollect, SmartOps and SurePay. He has also consulted for Fortune 500 companies, such as TD Bank, RBC, ING and IBM.

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