Hack me not: Auto manufacturers form an alliance to prevent future cyber attacks

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Regardless of the fact that it’s nigh impossible and that much of the hysteria behind it is due to one high-profile (controlled) instance, car hacking is now officially a thing. In light of this, automakers are binding together to combat future occurrences, and the countermeasures could be coming as early as this year.

Ever since the widely reported remote takeover of a Jeep Cherokee by cybersecurity researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller, people have been wondering what steps car manufacturers would take to ensure customer safety. According to a report in Automotive News, companies are working to set up an “Information Sharing and Analysis Center” to act as a line of defense against car hacking attempts.

If this sounds like a room with an array of software engineers dramatically counter-hacking incursion attempts as they happen, prepare to be slightly underwhelmed. The true function of the center would be for automobile manufacturers to share data regarding vulnerabilities in vehicle software and communication networks. They would also work together in developing defense systems for future vehicles.

We’re speculating, but plugging security holes in software often takes a lot of practice breaking in and finding them in the first place — the very thing Valasek and Miller were doing. All major car manufacturers will participate in this endeavor, with telecom companies expected to join in sometime in the future.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated in a report last year that attacking a car via its cellular data connection is one of 11 types of potential attacks facing modern vehicles. This was done as part of a proposal that would direct the Federal Trade Commission and NHTSA to set minimum cybersecurity rules after research found the car industry’s own measures “inconsistent.”

Having shown that it could be done, and generating a substantial public reaction, Valasek and Miller may have achieved what they set out to do — make automakers take cybersecurity seriously.

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