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Security Vulnerabilities Assessment Framework for Automotive OTA

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Nga Nyguen
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship, in the areas Security Vulnerabilities Assessment Framework for Automotive OTA.

Traditional telematics capability for vehicles have evolved to support critical functionality including firmware updates for on-board Electronic Control Units (ECUs). Known as Over-The-Air (OTA) updates, this is significant to remotely address feature updates and performance flaws; indeed Tesla demonstrated this to address problems with braking systems on their recent model. Supporting safety-critical functions through such connectivity however brings to fore the concerns around security of such components.

A key concern here is remote exploitation of vulnerabilities on the communication units on- board vehicles. Miller and Valasek brought attention to this when they managed to perform remote code execution due to authentication flaws in the Uconnect System. A further concern are attacks due to infiltration of software supply chains. Essentially, third party software could carry a ‘backdoor’ to bypass authentication measures. Traditional measures to detect intrusions over communication channels have been extended over automotive Controller Area Network (CAN). Signature-based methods are constrained by the knowledge of known exploits, whereas anomaly detection systems pose the usual challenge of accurately distinguishing between normal and abnormal activity at an acceptable rate.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.
All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry criteria for applicants to PHD

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:

Additional candidate specification

Experimental, modelling or analytical experience
• Knowledge and/or experience in the subject of hardware or software testing
• A good general knowledge of security
• Experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn about) vehicle systems

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact [Email Address Removed]
To apply on line please visit: . Before completing the application please contact Jeremy Bryans (Hyperlink to new a email to PI email address and cc’ing [Email Address Removed]) for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity.

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Please ensure eligibility prior to applying.

Duration of study: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: July 29th

Start date: Sept 2019

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Enquiries may be addressed to: Hoang Nga Nyguen: [Email Address Removed]

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