Auto industry says cybersecurity is a significant concern as cars become more automated

The auto industry is downplaying the immediate risk of car-hacking after a report about a cyber-intruder’s use of GPS trackers that allowed him to monitor the location of thousands of vehicles in commercial fleets and even turn off their engines.

“Hacking is not like you see it on TV,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Makers. But she said automakers take the threat seriously and are focusing more on shielding vehicles’ computer systems from possible intruders.

“Vehicles are highly complex with multiple layers of security, and remote access is exceedingly difficult by design,” Bergquist said in an email. “New cars being launched now have an exponential increase in cybersecurity. Automakers are collaborating in all areas possible, including hardware, software and knowledge sharing with suppliers, government and the research community.”

Motherboard reported last week that the hacker — identified only by the handle L&M — cracked more than 7,000 iTrack accounts and more than 20,000 Protrackaccounts that some companies use to manage their commercial fleets through GPS signals.

The hack allowed L&M to track vehicles in a small number of foreign countries, including India and the Philippines, and shut down the engines of vehicles that were stopped or traveling 12 mph or slower, Motherboard reported. The hacker told the news organization that he also was able to access information on the users from their accounts. Motherboard said it verified the hacker’s claims by contacting people whose accounts had been breached.

Source: Washington Post

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