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      August 09, 2023

      Cybersecurity Research at Continental: Enjoy the academic flexibility in industry

      I am a Researcher Product Cybersecurity and Privacy at Continental Automotive.

      Before, I enjoyed being in academia for more than 6 years, teaching and doing research on different cybersecurity and privacy-related topics. The joy of research for me lays in allowing my imagination to travel in time—mainly in future—to identify scientific problems, then to dig deep into related solutions, and finally conceptualize and realize my own. In my research, I wish always to be as close as possible to real-world problems to make a visible impact on people lives. In industry, the scientific problems usually stem from actual products, thus, they are well-defined and studied under realistic conditions. Therefore, it was attractive to me to do research in industry. However, I had my doubts about how much freedom and flexibility researchers in industry can exercise under the hard hierarchy of companies and the predefined scope of business. Now, I can say that all my doubts vanished as soon as I joined the cybersecurity and privacy competence center in Continental.

      Research at Continental

      Freedom and flexibility. “Freedom to act” is one of the core values of Continental. The researchers — among other employees — at Continental are granted a remarkable degree of freedom to think and to act. That is reflected in the highly flexibility of selecting the research topics, choosing among different roles, and various working modes.

      Open large community. In academia, we have an open international research community, and that does not fall short at Continental. Continental is an industry giant, around 200,000 employees in 57 countries, quite international and diverse. That forms a huge open internal community where we can exchange our ideas in a friendly and collaborative atmosphere. Continental provides a variety of tools, platforms, and events to make this community very well connected. This allows me and other researchers to easily access seniors and experts in different domains who can support us along the way. Additionally, we can find our peers at the same level of expertise, so we share our thoughts and develop our understanding of different concepts and technologies.

      Beside the open environment within Continental, we keep strong connections with the global research community through many collaboration projects with different universities. These collaborations often lead to publishing papers in world-class journals and conferences. It goes without saying that traveling to attend these conferences and other scientific events is fully encouraged and supported.

      Resources. This brings me to another important point, which is the abundance of resources. As more than 150-years old company, Continental gathered a tremendous amount of knowledge in many fields, and this knowledge is well documented and available through a huge digital library, which is full of scientific materials and references. Our research projects are very well funded and supported, such that we can acquire all needed equipments and utilize the powerful Continental infrastructure such as the high-performance computers and huge storage mediums. By that, the realization and evaluation of our solutions are facilitated.

      Cybersecurity research at Continental Automotive

      The ever-growing complexity of the Electrical/Electronic vehicle systems increases the number and variety of cybersecurity and privacy challenges. This complexity is manifested in the big number of control units and their different types and capabilities in the modern vehicles. The connections between these units and the various networks used for that is also another dimension of complexity. For example, the Automotive Ethernet network is increasingly used within the vehicles, which in turn poses several security challenges. These units control critical functions and parts of the vehicles, therefore, protecting them against attacks is crucial. The complexity and advancements of vehicle systems brought a wide spectrum of topics into research. As the real-world scenarios and use cases are in the heart of the Continental business, all the research problems we encounter are very well defined and oriented, thus, our efforts are concentrated on finding solutions.

      Personal development

      From personal perspective, as a researcher I am eager to develop my research and soft skills. Continental pays a special attention for its employees’ growth and development. We have a great opportunity to take a large number of internal trainings on different fields. External trainings and acquiring professional certificates are also encouraged and supported, and I am looking forward to my next certificate in the world of cybersecurity and privacy.

      All what I mentioned above made it clear for me that working in research at Continental is the perfect match for me, today and for years to come.

      Dr. rer. nat. Aidmar Wainakh

      This article was written by our employee.

      Aidmar Wainakh

      Researcher Product Cybersecurity and Privacy