A Semi-Centralized Dynamic Key Management Framework for In-Vehicle Networks

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The current in-vehicle network lacks a robust security communication mechanism between Electronic Control Units (ECUs). Although different proposed frameworks aim to secure the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus communication, few of them consider relevant aspects such as key refreshing and management, ECU maintenance, and vehicle manufacturing process. Despite the fact that a centralized key distribution provides an efficient mechanism, security and safety fully depend on this centralized key generator, which may lead to a single point of failure problem. In this work, we present a semi-centralized dynamic key management framework that provides a decentralized and dynamic key generation during the vehicle's operation. Our framework not only increases security and safety even if the centralized key generator is offline but also reduces the number of keys, the communication payload inside the network, and the complexity of cryptographic material sharing during the vehicle's lifetime. Moreover, we propose a dynamic generation of session keys for different groups of ECU and external devices, which is a requirement for intelligent vehicles and future Internet of Vehicles. In order to evaluate the performance, we implement our framework on three hardware platforms with different computational power and validate its advantage, efficiency, and flexibility by comparing it with other frameworks.

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IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology

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