Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Robert Chun

Second Advisor

Ben Reed

Third Advisor

Jesse Geneson


vehicle cybersecurity, Electronic Control Unit (ECU), Controller Area Network (CAN bus), On-Board Diagnostics (OBD)


The lack of concern with security when vehicular network protocols were designed some thirty years ago is about to take its toll as vehicles become more connected and smart. Today as demands for more functionality and connectivity on vehicles continue to grow, a plethora of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that are able to communicate to external networks are added to the automobile networks. The proliferation of ECU and the increasing autonomy level give drivers more control over their vehicles and make driving easier, but at the same time they expand the attack surface, bringing more vulnerabilities to vehicles that might be exploited by hackers. Possible outcomes of a compromised vehicle range from personal information theft to human life loss, raising the importance of automotive cybersecurity to a whole different level. Therefore, network safety has become a necessary and vital consideration of a vehicle. This project is two-fold: the first half will focus on the background of vehicle cybersecurity, characteristics of vehicular networks that could be leveraged during a hacking process, including ECU, Controller Area Network (CAN bus) and On-Board Diagnostics (OBD). It also discusses and evaluates previous hacking experiments conducted by researchers and their proposed countermeasures. The second half is an evaluation of approaches to design an Intrusion Detection System (IDS). The aim of this project is to find an effective and suitable solution todefend vehicles against various types of cyber threats.