Smart Mobility has a Blindspot When it Comes to API Security


programming interfaces used in the automotive industry due to the widespread adoption of smart mobility services and applications. Nevertheless, this heavy dependence on APIs has also made them a prime target for cyberattacks. A report by Gartner suggests that 90% of web application attacks in the automotive sector occur through APIs. The areas that are vulnerable to attack.

It is not unexpected that comparable patterns are emerging within the realm of smart transportation. Upstream Security's recent report on Automotive and Smart Mobility Cybersecurity reveals that API-related instances in the automotive and smart mobility sectors have surged by 380% in 2022 when matched against the prior year, 2021. In the year 2022, there was an increase in the percentage of cyber incidents that involved APIs, which rose from 2% in 2021 to 12%.

upstream's threat intelligence team discovered that 53% of smart mobility application and service-related incidents, which involve attacks on API, were carried out by black-hat actors with malicious intent. The consequences of these incidents are severe. Apart from the breaches of data and personally identifiable information (PII), which can lead to disruptions in services, there are also fraudulent activities that raise trust concerns and have the potential to cause revenue loss.

Data-driven mobility services reshape traditional automotive revenue models

experiencing a surge in connectivity. This has opened up new channels for generating revenue based on data analytics and connected vehicle services not seen before. The integration of technology into vehicles has provided both established and emerging players in the automotive industry with exciting opportunities to monetize their products and services. technology, such as mobile applications, that make it easier for consumers to access and enjoy services. Advanced data analysis allows businesses to maintain ongoing observation and implement beneficial changes. A report from McKinsey suggests that nearly one-third of automotive sector earnings will derive from technology reliant on data analysis. By 2030, there will be advanced transportation services that incorporate technology and data, known as smart mobility services. However, these services differ from traditional technology-based applications as they rely heavily on APIs that directly affect the vehicles on the road.

Large-scale traffic congestions resulted from the manipulation of API transactions.  

entry for attackers. The use of APIs in cyberattacks has become more prominent, especially in the automotive and smart mobility sectors. This is because APIs are relatively easy to use, which makes them attractive to both researchers and malicious actors with limited knowledge of the automotive industry. As a result, the barrier to entry for hackers has been lowered. Reducing the number of threat actors who can access a system is important. Even one weakness in an application programming interface can have far-reaching consequences for numerous vehicle fleets. A striking instance of this risk and its potential for devastation occurred in Europe during the middle of 2022 when central Moscow experienced severe traffic congestion. the ride-hailing service worked, they simply exploited its vulnerabilities to cause chaos and disruption. The consequences of the attack were severe as it not only affected individuals' ability to move freely but also posed a threat to public safety and infrastructure. Despite the simplicity of the attack, its impact was significant, highlighting the importance of securing such services against malicious actors. All that was required for the vehicles to work was to detect and take advantage of any weaknesses in the API.

WAF is not (always) enough: developing a contextual framework for smart mobility API security

miss out on detecting fraud and service downtime, which leads to revenue loss and compromises the privacy of both users and organizations. Therefore, there is a need for advanced security measures that cater to the specific needs of smart mobility services. The reason why advanced attacks that affect mobile app assets and consumers are not detected is because there is no thorough examination of how API transactions affect vehicles that are in motion.

To establish effective cybersecurity measures in the realm of smart mobility, it is crucial to broaden the focus and examine how APIs impact real-world mobility assets such as vehicles. In order to improve API security, there is a growing need to incorporate Operational Technology (OT) as well. The objective is to establish a robust cybersecurity stance by linking the contextual condition of mobility assets with API traffic transactions. This involves combining API discovery profiling and monitoring with in-depth analysis of mobility asset behavior and the consequences of individual APIs. Securing OT assets requires a contextual approach, considering their unique behavior in terms of ignition status, location, and speed compared to IT assets.

Smart mobility companies are using a fresh strategy for safeguarding smart mobility API transactions that involve four essential stages:

  • Map the potential attack surface
  • Continuously monitor API traffic
  • Apply contextual anomaly detection
  • Mitigate and respond to cyber threats

the identification of potential vulnerabilities and threats that could be exploited through the API. To achieve this, the initial step involves assessing the attack surface that corresponds to APIs. This demands taking inventory of APIs utilized by service applications and third parties through sources such as Swagger documentation. Additionally, analyzing live API traffic and transactions is crucial in identifying probable vulnerabilities and threats that can be leveraged through the API. All types of APIs, whether they are documented, undocumented, or outdated but still active, can provide a vulnerable entry point for malicious attackers.

enhance cybersecurity measures by capturing any alterations or improper use of the API through regular monitoring. By closely monitoring the traffic, it becomes more manageable to document any changes and identify potential security issues. It is also essential to prioritize real-time monitoring and ensure responsiveness to enhancing cybersecurity posture. Managing the magnitude and intricacy of these deals and identifying any anomalies from the standard condition of the resource is crucial. Cybersecurity turns out to be exceptionally significant when a solitary API call can initiate a vehicle's engine or provide information about a driver's whereabouts.

security can be enhanced. This means that in order to protect smart mobility assets, it is important to monitor their current condition and any unusual activity that may indicate a security breach. Utilizing the assets' state in combination with API traffic analysis can improve cyber security measures. be examined closely as it could be a sign of a coordinated attack. By understanding the context and potential implications of certain requests or actions, teams can better identify and prevent security threats. Even seemingly harmless actions can have negative consequences if not properly scrutinized. Therefore, it is essential for teams to remain vigilant and analyze all aspects of their systems to ensure optimal security. Any action that raises an immediate suspicion and prompts an investigation.

can accurately identify risks and potential threats in real-time, and provide effective security measures to prevent any malicious activities. This approach enhances the overall security of connected vehicles, making it safer for drivers and passengers alike. Recently, Upstream Security has advanced its analysis of API transactions by using a reliable digital twin. This twin is a current digital version of the asset's condition created from data feeds such as telematics services, backend servers from applications or other sources. Consequently, the system can recognize possible dangers and hazards immediately, and apply efficient security solutions to stop malicious behavior. This methodology improves the overall safety of connected vehicles benefiting both drivers and passengers. The platform provides an extensive overview of all mobility assets and affected users. With the help of the platform's exclusive context about the state of the asset, cyber teams can promptly and efficiently respond to any detected attack or misconfiguration and minimize potential threats.

priority. By adopting this approach, there is potential for a wider range of security measures to be utilized within smart mobility, ensuring that the ever-evolving landscape of transportation technology can be navigated safely and efficiently. With new advancements constantly emerging, keeping up with API security will remain a fundamental concern within the industry. The foremost difficulty that needs to be overcome.

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