The Challenges Autonomous Cars Pose to Future of Cybersecurity

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Dec.19, 2017—Inside Sources recently released an article posing the potential challenges autonomous vehicles (AVs) may create for the future of cybersecurity. Risks such as hacking are one of the many threats linked with the advancement.

Earlier this month, Ratchet+Wrench dissected SEMA's Advanced Vehicle Technology study and spoke with Kaleb Silver, senior product manager for Hunter Engineering, about how AV technology will cause auto repair shops to be conscious of cybersecurity threats when repair vehicles.

When Ratchet+Wrench spoke with Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz, co-founder of Nexar, he echoed the same concerns, saying that the more cars become connected, the more cyber security concerns will rise, especially since the connected car market is expected to quadruple by 2021.

In a report published by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), the risks of cyber intrusion can vary from access to the personal and financial information of the owner, driver or passenger, to outright loss of control of the vehicle.

It’s important for automotive repair shops to understand their place in the autonomous equation and secure their networks to protect customers, ATIS representatives state.

As the rise of AVs are set to help significantly reduce the number of human-error caused accidents, the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) in self-driving technology means that hacking could be the next obstacle to watch out for.

The article touches on some of the public distrust that comes with such high levels of technology, sometime leading people to stray away from such idea. It’s predicted that cybersecurity will be held to the same importance standard, if not more, as crash testing.

“It is more likely that hackers would target cars with ransomware, locking the ignition until a certain sum had been paid, or use them in order to gain access to personally identifiable information that they might contain. Manufacturers are exploring ways in which cars could come to serve as payment systems, which could make them more attractive targets for hackers,” according to the piece.

Now, conversations of government regulation are in swing as essentially anyone may be able to get a hold of such information. Waymo, Google’s self-driving division, is exploring ways to limit the windows of connectivity in it’s vehicles.

Tom Gage, ATIS board member and CEO of Marconi Pacific says that if you plan to perform diagnostic work, vehicle reprogramming or have plans to utilize telematic technology, address network concerns with an OEMs or third parties involved.

“If I’m an auto shop and I have to do some sort of an update to the software,” Gage says, “are all the connections I have secure? Is Wi-Fi secure? Are the servers I’m operating on secure? These are things you need to ensure to prevent the possibility of a cyber attack.”


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