UK takes the lead on connected car protection

Manufacturers urged to combat threats from hackers as cars become more intelligent and should ‘design out’ hacking

Smarter cars are increasingly becoming the norm so the UK government aims to protect them
Smarter cars are increasingly becoming the norm so the UK government aims to protect them

Internet-connected cars will have to be better protected from hackers, under tough new government guidance issued in the UK.


While smart cars and vans offer new services for drivers, it is feared would-be hackers could target them to access personal data, steal cars that use keyless entry, or even take control of technology for malicious reasons.


The new government guidance will ensure engineers developing smart vehicles will have to toughen up cyber protections and help ‘design out’ hacking. The government is also looking at a broader programme of work announced in this year’s Queen’s speech under the landmark Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Bill that aims to create a new framework for self-driving vehicle insurance.


The legislation will put Britain at the centre of the new technological developments in smart and autonomous vehicles while ensuring safety and consumer protection remain at the heart of the emerging industry.


Measures to be put before Parliament mean that insuring modern vehicles will provide protection for consumers if technologies fail. This comes alongside new guidance that means manufacturers will need to design out cyber security threats as part of their development work.


This will cement the UK as a world-leading location for research and development for the next generation of vehicles. And it forms part of the government’s drive to ensure the country harnesses the economic and job-creating potential of new tech industries.


“Our cars are becoming smarter and self-driving technology will revolutionise the way in which we travel,” said transport minister Lord Callanan. “Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected. Whether we’re turning vehicles into wi-fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber-attacks.


“That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry. Our key principles give advice on what organisations should do, from the board level down, as well as technical design and development considerations.


Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, 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.



If you like this, you might be interested in reading the following:



Autonomous car partnership aims to reduce hacking risk

Autonomous security software protects the cars’ electronic control units (ECUs) against risks of hacking



How connected cars will change industry, by Robert Schuessler, connected car VP, Bright Box Europe

The main threat facing the automakers comes from the digital players



Transforming urban mobility via connected cars

Research firm IDC calls for automotive OEMs and city leaders to work together to implement connected cars and smart city solutions


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