Security researchers raise concerns over car cyber safety


A group of IT security researchers have called upon the car industry to ensure cars are built to withstand attacks from cyber criminals.

In an open letter to chief executives of all the car companies, the group which calls itself "I am the Cavalry" said that these companies should unite with the IT security industry to increase safety of IT systems within cars.

I am the Cavalry formed at last year's Def Con security conference to unite the IT security research community and the consumer goods manufacturers.

In the open letter, the group said modern vehicles were "computers on wheels and are increasingly connected and controlled by software and embedded devices".

It continued: "Malicious attackers, software flaws, and privacy concerns are the potential unintended consequences of computer technologies driving this latest round of innovation. The once distinct worlds of automobiles and cyber security have collided. In kind, now is the time for the automotive industry and the security community to connect and collaborate toward our common goals."

The group asked the firms to sign up to the Five Star Automotive Cyber Safety Program which sets out five important ways the car industry can make their products safer. These include; safety by design, third-party collaboration, evidence capture, security updates, and segmentation and isolation.

The group has also set up a petition on to urge the industry to address fears over car security.

"When the technology we depend on affects public safety and human life, it commands our utmost attention and diligence. Our cars command this level of care. Each and every day, we entrust our lives and the lives of those we love to our automobiles," the letter stated.

"The goal of our outreach effort here is to catalyse greater teamwork between security researchers and the automotive industry. Our combined expertise is required to ensure that the safety issues introduced by computer technologies are treated with the same diligence as other classes of automotive safety issues."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.