US: automakers questioned by US senators on cyber security

A couple of US senators have made inquiries among the world’s largest carmakers in regards to the moves they have taken to safeguard their vehicles from cyber attacks.

The attention on vehicle cyber security has reached new heights after one automaker made the first ever recall associated with a cyber security flaw that allowed potentially malevolent hackers to gain access to the automobile’s functions. Democratic Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal have asked 18 companies for information on their strategy concerning vehicle cyber security for the latest crop of 2015 and 2016 models, among the questions being how they perform electronic component and communication systems probes to make sure attacks can be mitigated. The concerns over the latest threats affecting the newly sector of automotive cyber security have exploded since July, when a couple of researchers – also known as white hat hackers – were able to remotely interfere with the functions of a jeep that was on the move, making Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recall around 1.4 million autos.

Senator Markey was actually already looking into the issue as of December 2015 and his report in February this year showed the efforts to introduce more connected vehicle technology has by far outpaced the auto industry and the government when it comes to protection measures. Today’s modern cars – seen as computers on wheels – have numerous small computers that connect to outside networks, which represent a bridge for malevolent cybernetic attacks that are looking similar to the ones performed against our traditional computers. And the growing fear is that hackers gaining control of critical functions – such as steering or braking – could lead to losses of lives.

Via Reuters