New rules aim to guard 'smart' vehicles from cyber attacks

Car security - staying ahead of criminals
7 Aug, 2017 11:30am Michael Cox

Engineers developing connected cars will have to reduce the risk of hacking

Car manufacturers will have to better protect internet-connected vehicles from cyber attacks under new Government guidance.

‘Smart’ vehicles, which allow drivers to access maps, live traffic information and DAB radio, are becoming increasingly common on Britain’s roads.

• UK vehicle thefts jump 20% in biggest crime spike for a decade

It is feared that hackers could target them to access personal data, steal cars that use keyless entry or even take control of vehicles and cause accidents. 

Under new Government guidance, engineers developing smart vehicles will have to toughen up cyber protection and help eliminate hacking.

The news comes after police figures show vehicle thefts jumped 20 per cent last year, with experts suggesting the spike was likely down to more criminals 'hacking' cars' on-board computers or 'boosting' signals from keyless entry devices.

Transport minister Lord Callanan said the hacking risk was low but protecting motorists from cyber attacks was “important”.

“Our cars are becoming smarter and self-driving technology will revolutionise the way in which we travel,” he said. “Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, welcomed the guidance and said: “These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives.

“A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology.”

Are you concerned that 'smart' cars are more vulnerable to cyber attacks? Let us know what you think in the comments below