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UK Gov. Must Address Automotive Cybersecurity, Says Intel

Following the FBI’s official warning of cyber hacks on connected and driverless cars, Raj Samani CTO EMEA Intel Security, has spoken of the seriousness of the issue, urging UK government and defense to address the problem.

In a Public Service Announcement the FBI outlined the risks that now surround automotive cybersecurity and stated the importance for both consumers and manufacturers to maintain an awareness of these threats.

Many modern motor vehicles often have new connected technologies in the form of electronic control units which are designed to improve safety features and fuel economy, allowing for the monitoring of vehicle status and provide a more convenient driving experience.

However, the FBI made it clear that added connectivity also provides portals which can be targeted by malicious adversaries who may be able to remotely attack things like vehicle controls and systems. In the same way, third-party devices linked to a vehicle, such as via the diagnostics port, introduce vulnerabilities which did not previously exist.

Samani said: "Alongside encouraging the usage of driverless vehicles within the UK, as announced in the Spring Budget, it’s crucial that the UK government makes real moves towards defining the regulatory changes that need to be addressed in order to mitigate the risks of cybercrime within this industry.”

“Whenever new technology is developed, hackers are fast to react - identifying vulnerabilities and potential avenues for attack. As the Internet of Things becomes a reality and our world becomes ever-more connected, so too do the risks of such attacks from cyber-criminals.”

Whilst Samani was quick to point out that we are yet to see potential vehicle hacking manifest into actual attacks in the UK, like any crime, it is just a matter of motive - and these are often driven by financial gain or political, personal or social activism.

“If driverless and connected vehicles are to become commonplace in the UK, as suggested by Osborne, it is just a matter of time before attackers find a means to use this as an opportunity to fulfill one of these motives,” he added.

“It’s crucial that security is a key consideration right from the manufacturing stage of connected vehicles and the Automotive Security Review Board welcomes input and collaboration with the government to advise best practices for tackling this issue together.”

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