Groups Urge Senate Committee to Address AV Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

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July 12, 2018—The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety president, Catherine Chase, urged the U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to include a discussion earlier this week on the need for protections against vehicle hacking.

On Wednesday, a hearing was held on "Complex Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: Lessons Learned from Spectre and Meltdown." The group, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety wrote a letter in advance to the hearing about the problems related to the cybersecurity of connected and autonomous vehicles.

According to the letter, these cars will be computers on wheels and it is essential that strong protections be in place to safeguard against vehicle hacking,

In 2015, hackers demonstrated their ability to take over the controls of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) that was traveling 70 miles-per-hour on an Interstate outside of St. Louis, MO.  By accessing the vehicle’s entertainment system using a laptop computer, hackers located miles away from the vehicle were able to send disruptive commands to the SUV’s dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission.  This incident is likely just a preview of the types of hacking that will be possible as vehicles become even more reliant on complex electronic systems and outside communications, according to the letter.

"Moreover, there is a very real and dangerous possibility that instances of hacking will not only affect one individual vehicle, but could very well impact entire fleets or model lines – posing a severe risk to occupants of the hacked vehicles as well as other road users.  These attacks could also clog roads, stop the movement of goods and hinder the response of emergency vehicles."

The organization urged for a method to be established that would quickly identify issues and disseminate that information among manufacturers.

To read more of the letter, visit here.


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