Intel urges car industry to improve cyber security

Firm forms security review board

One of the self-driving cars being tested by Google in the US.

One of the self-driving cars being tested by Google in the US.

There are more than 100 different computer systems used by modern cars. And most of them can connect to a phone or directly to the Internet, so the opportunities for hackers are widening, according to Intel.

The security vendor last week announced the formation of an Automotive Security Review Board (ASRB) in the US with the mission of making ‘security-by-design’ a part of the car production process.

The review board will look at what could be compromised in modern cars, including the emerging category of driverless cars.

It has also published a white paper that identified security measures for cars such as secure boot, trusted execution environments, tamper protection, isolation of safety critical systems, message authentication, network encryption, data privacy, behavioural monitoring, anomaly detection, and shared threat intelligence.

There have already been documented examples of cars being compromised remotely. In the US, security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely hacked their way into a Jeep's Uconnect navigation and entertainment system via its connection to Sprint's wireless network, taking control of it while a reporter for Wired magazine was driving.

Intel Security CTO Mike Sentonas said the formation of the board was timely given that South Australia is moving to make driverless car tests legal .

“If you start to think ahead about driverless cars, you don’t have that failsafe of someone realising while they are in the car that this doesn’t look right and making changes accordingly."

The outcome from the driverless car tests would be looked at with interest by Intel, the CTO said.

The state’s transport minister, Stephen Mullighan, this week introduced the Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill to the state's parliament to allow tests of driverless cars to be conducted on public roads.

The bill will introduce exemptions to current laws to allow the on-road testing of driverless vehicles.

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