Cyberattacks while driving? A Senator wants answers

Senator wants cybersecurity answers from automakers (Tom’s Guide, 5 Dec 2013) – A U.S. senator has asked 20 automobile manufacturers how each plans to stave off wireless hacking attempts on vehicle computer systems, as well as prevent violations of driver privacy. “I write to request information regarding your company’s protections against the threat of cyberattacks or unwarranted invasions of privacy related to the integration of wireless, navigation and other technologies into and with automobiles,” wrote Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, in a letter to Daniel Akerson , CEO of General Motors, on Monday (Dec. 2). Markey’s questions imply that he wants carmakers to apply computer-industry security processes, including implementation of anti-virus software, incident logging, incident-response planning, software vulnerability patching and third-party penetration testing – the last of which would stage real hacker attacks on mass-production vehicles. Markey, one of the half-dozen lawmakers on Capitol Hill who has demonstrated a clear understanding of computer technology, cited research done earlier this year by two Pentagon-funded “white hat” hackers. “In a recent study that was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),” Markey wrote, “Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek demonstrated their ability to directly connect to a vehicle’s computer systems, send commands to different ECUs through the CAN and thereby control the engine, brakes, steering and other critical vehicle components.”

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