Tesla is the only major automaker that offers over the air (OTA) updates of both software and firmware. This allows Tesla to add new features like new voice commands, driver profiles or blind spot warnings that weren’t available when the car was purchased. It also allows them to fix bugs that were either causing the car to not function as intended or to discourage potential hackers by patching vulnerabilities soon after they are discovered.
Recently, the UK government released "The key principles of vehicle cyber security for connected and automated vehicles." This guidance document provides key cyber security principles for use by the automotive industry and its suppliers. This follows the US Government's guidelines that were issued last fall.
The IoT, or the "Internet of Things," represents an exciting period of innovation in our lives. It describes a world of devices all connected to the internet, a world in which inanimate technology that we use and see every day is becoming smarter. It also predicts a continuous journey towards greater ease and convenience, a future in which technology interacts with us as much as we do with it. As you can imagine, this comes with both perks and drawbacks.
In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded three Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Deployment Programs: New York City (NYC), Tampa and Wyoming. The CV Pilot Program will test and operationalize cutting-edge vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technologies, including in-vehicle wireless, mobile devices, and roadside equipment that have the potential to reduce accidents, save lives, improve productivity, enhance mobility, and lessen the environmental impact of city traffic. The NYC CV pilot will feature an estimated 8,000 vehicles outfitted with V2X equipment, including 5,850 taxis, 1,250 MTA vehicles, 400 UPS trucks, and 500 city vehicles. There will be approximately 350 roadside units installed at Manhattan and Brooklyn intersections and on FDR drive. Additionally, 100 vulnerable road user (pedestrians and bicyclists) devices will be deployed to study the effectiveness of V2X technology in reducing NYC's high rate (5 times the national average) of crash fatalities involving pedestrians.
Over the past year, there have been a rush of Internet of Things (IoT) cyber-attacks, the most famous of which was the IoT Denial of Service attack on Dyn that disrupted internet traffic for a day. As more IoT devices are deployed, the frequency of serious cyber-attacks will only increase, and increase quickly. Many consumer IoT manufacturers are under intense schedule and cost pressures where a delay to add cyber security could be the difference between success and failure. Industrial IoT companies have a different problem, where long product lifecycles make security difficult to manage and almost impossible to retroactively deploy.
On June 14, 2017, the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation convened a hearing titled "Paving the Way for Self-Driving Vehicles." During the nearly 2.5-hour session, senators and expert witnesses discussed a wide-range of topics regarding autonomous vehicles, including insurance, access for the disabled, impact on safety and drunk driving, etc. The hearing consisted of several polite exchanges of ideas and plans, until Senator Ed Markey pressed the witnesses on their thoughts on mandatory Federal Cyber Security regulations in automotive.
In July 2016, the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC) released "Automotive Cybersecurity Best Practices" for carmakers and their suppliers. This document expands on their "Framework for Automotive Cybersecurity Best Practices" published in January 2016. This is the first time the automakers have addressed cybersecurity in a formal manner and a strong sign they are treating hacker threats seriously.