Survey: Cybersecurity Tops List of Auto and Tech Execs Concerns about Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Cybersecurity attacks emerged as the top concern for 63 percent of respondents in developing technology for connected cars and/or autonomous vehicles, according to a survey of automotive and technology executives  by the law firm, Foley and Lardner LLP.

“Manufacturers must consider their own enterprise systems, the vehicle’s systems, the driver’s connected systems in the infotainment center (and any connected devices) and the interconnectedness of all this with the immediate environment,” the report on the survey said.

The second-highest percent of respondents (58 percent) selected intellectual property protection as a priority legal issue. “IP protection encompasses questions around who owns the IP, keeping it safe and preventing theft. Companies can mitigate risk in this area by setting clear company guidelines for capturing IP and deciding on the form of protection, as well as having sound and consistent management of contracts and agreements when involved in joint collaborations.”

Find the survey results here.

Trucking Industry Potential Vulnerability

Cybersecurity experts have pointed out that autonomous trucks may be far more vulnerable to cyber hacking and attacks than cars. According to an article in FreightWaves, Jeffrey Carr, a consultant and founder of the Suits and Spooks cybersecurity conference series,  told,  “More harm can be done with trucks than cars.” A truck or convoy of trucks can carry cargo that can cause serious harm.

Another cybersecurity expert, Monique Lance a researcher with Argus Cyber Security, told FreightWaves, “Trucks are also more vulnerable to these attacks as they use a common protocol making it easier to compromise a fleet of trucks.”

Another vulnerability is GPS spoofing attacks, where attackers can spoof the GPS satellite and send new navigation signals.   This summer at least 2O ships experienced what is considered a spoofing attack off the Russian coast in the Black Sea, according to New Scientist magazine.

While the incident, which has been reported by the US Maritime Administration, is yet to be confirmed, experts think this is the first documented use of GPS misdirection.

Todd Humphreys, of the University of Texas at Austin, has been warning of the coming danger of GPS spoofing for many years, according to New Scientist. In 2013, he showed how a superyacht with state-of-the-art navigation could be lured off-course by GPS spoofing. “The receiver’s behaviour in the Black Sea incident was much like during the controlled attacks my team conducted,” says Humphreys.

Humphreys told the New Scientist that he thinks this is Russia experimenting with a new form of electronic warfare.