Senate bill proposes cyber security standard for cars

The proposed legislation will also make drivers aware of what data is being collected

Cars will have to be much better protected against hacking and new privacy standards will govern data collected from vehicles under proposed legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act of 2015 seeks to get a step ahead of what is seen by some as one of the next fronts in hacking: connected vehicles, which are always on the Internet and rely on sophisticated computer control systems.

Proposed by Senators Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, the act would mandate that critical software systems in cars be isolated and the entire vehicle be safeguarded against hacking by using "reasonable measures." The proposed bill doesn't define those measures.

Data stored in the car should be secured to prevent unauthorized access and vehicles will also have to detect, alert and respond to hacking attempts in real time.

Under the proposed law, new privacy standards, to be developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will require vehicle owners be made aware of what data is being collected, transmitted and shared. Owners will be offered the chance to opt out of such data collection without losing access to key navigation or other features where feasible.

The NHTSA will also be tasked with developing an easy method for consumers to evaluate how well an automaker goes beyond the minimum standards defined in the proposed law.

To date, there have been few examples of cyber attacks on cars, but security researchers have demonstrated that it's possible to take over the critical control systems of a car while it is in motion.

BMW earlier this year patched a vulnerability in its connected drive system that allowed an attacker to remotely unlock a car. BMW had not enabled encryption on its servers, allowing an attacker to mimic the server and send a lock or unlock command to a car. The fix was as simple as enabling HTTPS, but 2.2 million cars had to be upgraded.

Markey took up the issue of cyber security in cars in late 2013, when he sent letters to 20 major automakers asking them how they protected information collected from vehicles and guarded against cyber attacks. The answers to those letters laid the ground for a report published in 2014 that found cars inadequately protected against potential cyberattack.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentsecuritylegislationbmw

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?