The SAE J3061 Standard For Automotive Cybersecurity

SAE J3061 is now applied to modern vehicles. Why? Because today’s vehicles now becoming software-intensive and connected. With this technological shift, serious cybersecurity concerns increase.

So, what is SAE J3061? And how does it help in the development of automotive cybersecurity?

What Is SAE J3061?

SAE J3061 is a guide or standard published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). This standard defines a process framework for the security lifecycle for cyber-physical vehicle systems.

It also provides high-level guidance and information on best practice tools. As well as methods that relate to cybersecurity. And these practices or methods can be adapted to existing development processes in the organization.

Aside from that, SAE J3061 builds on much existing work on security engineering and secure system development methodologies. Moreover, it has a strong relation to the automotive system functional safety standard ISO 26262.

So in other words, SAE J3061 is an information security standard tailored to the automotive safety processes.

The Concept Phase Of SAE J3061

The concept phase’s objective is to define high-level cybersecurity goals and strategies. They will then refine these goals and strategies to include technical details in the product development phase.

The concept phase consists of 7 steps:

  • Feature definition. The concept phase starts with this step. It identifies the physical and trust boundaries of the system. As well as the scope of the work and the system under consideration.
  • Initiation of cybersecurity lifecycle. This is the second step. This is where the planning and documentation of the project happen concerning cybersecurity processes.
  • Threat analysis and risk assessment. This is the main activity in the concept phase. Besides, the goal of this step is to identify potential threats. It also assesses the rate and risks that associate with the threats. Moreover, a sub-activity under this step identifies high-level cybersecurity requirements after analyzing the risks.
  • System-level cybersecurity concept. This step includes the high-level cybersecurity strategy that satisfies cybersecurity goals for the identified threats. This strategy is then refined to a technical strategy later during the product development phase.
  • Identify functional cybersecurity requirements. These requirements are derived from the cybersecurity strategy that satisfies the cybersecurity goals. So we can see the flow. The functional cybersecurity requirements derive from the strategy. The strategy, in turn, derives from the goals based on the outcome of identified threats and risks.
  • Initial cybersecurity assessment. This step conducts an assessment of the level of the security of the system. And the SAE J3061 suggests that the initial assessment should contain only the high-level cybersecurity goals. As well as the risks and open security issues.
  • Concept phase review. This is the final step. And this also acts as a quality control gate that reviews the whole concept phase.


There are few comprehensive cybersecurity implementation guidelines for the automotive industry. And SAE J3061 is among one of them.

As we can see, automotive software developers understand well the hazards that can be caused by system failures. So, functional safety is in mind while specifically developing this standard.

Moreover, many are recognizing the work done by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Not only by the automotive industry. But also by other standards organization.

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