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UK Tech Group to Start Connected Car Security Project

A UK tech consortium has just won funding from the government to improve cybersecurity standards in the autonomous vehicle industry.

The 5*StarS group features research, testing and consultancy firms Horiba Mira, Ricardo, Roke, Thatcham Research and Axillium Research.

They will join forces on the Automotive Cyber Security through Assurance project as part of the government’s efforts to make the UK a global hub for the development, testing and commercialization of autonomous vehicles.

“The race for developing connected and autonomous vehicles is accelerating and as a government we are determined to build on our strengths and ensure the UK is at the forefront of this revolution”, said business and energy secretary, Greg Clark.

“We have an excellent record in innovation in the UK and through our industrial strategy, we will build on our strengths so the UK auto sector remains world-leading. That is why we have announced support today for 5*StarS as schemes like these will be key to turning research and development into anchoring future production.”

Specifically, the consortium will look to develop an assurance methodology the industry can use to ensure all components and systems used in these vehicles are tested to meet relevant cybersecurity standards.

It is hoped that this will provide the foundation for a new consumer ratings system similar to the EuroNCAP car assessment program for vehicle safety.

As such, it should be good news for the connected car industry, consumers and insurers, although it's unclear what security standards the group will be working towards.

“Wherever there is a digital element in the car, it is vulnerable to attack”, argued Thatcham Research chief executive, Peter Shaw.

“Consumers and insurers need to know what potential risk this connectivity has. The 5*StarS system will provide this, as well as drive car manufacturers to continually strive to improve car security.”

In the US, legislation was recently reintroduced to Congress designed to set cybersecurity standards for the connected car industry there.

The SPY (Security and Privacy in Your Car) Act will mandate the isolation of critical software systems from non-critical systems and ensure all cars “immediately detect, report, and stop attempts to intercept driving data or control the vehicle".

Infosecurity Magazine has contacted the 5*StarS group for more information on its work and will update this story when we hear back.

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