ISO/SAE 21434 (Cybersecurity in the automotive industry)


ISO/SAE 21434, also known as Road vehicles – Cybersecurity engineering, is an international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). It provides a comprehensive set of guidelines for the design and development of secure road vehicles and systems, with a focus on cybersecurity.

The main objective of ISO/SAE 21434 is to ensure the security of road vehicles by taking into account the potential threats of cyber-attacks. The standard specifies best practices for the design and implementation of secure vehicles and systems and for cybersecurity management throughout the life cycle of a vehicle. It provides guidelines for identifying and dealing with cyber security threats and for monitoring and maintaining the security of vehicle systems. Organizations can successfully mitigate the threat of cyberattacks on road vehicles and maintain the security of these systems by following these instructions.


The standard covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Asset analysis and risk assessment: The process of identifying and analyzing the risks of cyberattacks on motor vehicles is called cybersecurity risk assessment.
  • Development of requirements: Identifying the necessary cyber security measures for road vehicles and systems: This includes requirements for secure communication, access control and effective vulnerability management.
  • Design and development: Integrate cybersecurity measures into the design and development of road vehicles and systems: Secure communication methods and secure coding standards must be used to protect against cyber threats.
  • Verification and validation: assessment of the cyber security of road vehicles and systems: The process of testing and confirming that the required criteria are met and that the systems are secure against potential threats.
  • Management: Implementation of processes to manage cyber security throughout the entire life cycle of a road vehicle.

ISO/SAE 21434 sets out principles for the development of secure connected vehicles based on the exchange of data between the vehicle and other systems such as traffic signals and GPS. By adhering to these rules, car manufacturers can ensure that their vehicles are protected against cyber attacks and that the transmitted data is secure.

The ISO/SAE 21434 rules can also be used for the design of autonomous vehicles that rely on complicated control systems to navigate and operate safely. By following these recommendations, car manufacturers can protect their self-driving vehicles from cyber threats that could disrupt the control systems.


ISO/SAE 21434 is an international standard that specifies guidelines for secure development vehicles. It addresses various aspects of cybersecurity, including risk assessment, requirements, design and development, verification and validation, and management. Compliance with these guidelines enables automotive manufacturers to protect their vehicles from cyberattacks and secure the transmitted data.cybersecurity risk assessment: the process of identifying and evaluating the risks associated with cyberattacks on vehicles.

In my view, the standard is not yet perfect and still needs to be adapted. There are still many passages that are worded far too vaguely and can mean everything and nothing. Every OEM interprets them as they wish. This naturally leads to inconsistencies in the industry. This makes it particularly difficult for suppliers to establish a standardized process. When determining the probability of an attack via an attack path, for example, the attractiveness and reward value of an attack are not taken into account at all.

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