Cybersecurity and functional safety – how are they related?

In vehicle development, there are numerous touchpoints and overlaps between cybersecurity (ISO 21434) and functional safety (ISO 26262). In this expert discussion, you will learn what to look out for and where you should definitely coordinate with your colleagues.


Good to know

Functional safety


Concept phase




Management systems


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Same same, but different

Functional safety and cybersecurity engineering together form the general context for the overall safety of a technical system. Within this setting, however, the two areas pursue different priorities: 

  • While functional safety serves to protect humans from faulty systems, 
  • cybersecurity protects the system itself. 

In the best case, cybersecurity makes it impossible for an attacker to take control of your car or any kind of information – especially data that is critical from a functional safety, financial, operational or privacy perspective.

Because both perspectives have fundamental requirements for a technical system, the vehicle or key components, they should be considered and coordinated in tandem. 

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Functional safety and cybersecurity – the touchpoints

Defining the item of development

Structuring and strictly following development processes

Managing risks on the basis of risk assessments

Communicating and coordinating closely

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