Carmakers Strive to Stay Ahead of Hackers

“Human life is involved, so cybersecurity is our top priority,” said Kevin Tierney, vice president of General Motors for global cyber security. The company, which has 90 engineers working full-time in cyberspace, calls it “in-depth defense”, removing unnecessary software and allowing the vehicle system to communicate with each other only when necessary. Manufactures.

This is a practice followed by Volkswagen, said Major-Brit Peters, a spokesman for the company’s software and technology group. He said that Volkswagen’s sensitive vehicle control system is placed in different domains.

Continental, a major supplier of electronic parts to automakers, employs an intrusion detection and prevention system to thwart attacks. “If the throttle position sensor is talking to the airbag, it is not planned,” Mr. Smolley said. “We can stop it, but we won’t do it while the vehicle is moving.”

Nevertheless, determined hackers will eventually find a way. To date, vehicle cybersecurity has been a patchwork effort, with no international standards or regulations. But that is about to change.

This year, a United Nations regulation on vehicle cyber security came into force, which obliges manufacturers to conduct various risk assessments and report on intrusive attempts to certify cyber security readiness. Regulation will be effective for all vehicles sold in Europe from July 2028 and in Japan and South Korea in 2022.

While the United States is not among the 54 signatories, vehicles sold in the US are unlikely to form separate cyber security standards and vice versa from cars sold elsewhere.

“United Nations regulation is a global standard, and we have to meet global standards,” said Mr. Tierney of GM.

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