UK sets out tougher guidelines to protect smart cars from hackers

The UK Government has issued new guidelines requiring manufacturers of Internet-connected vehicles to put in place tougher cyber protections to ensure they are better shielded against hackers.

It said it was concerned that smart vehicles could be targeted by hackers to access personal data, steal  cars that use key-less entry systems, or take control of technology for malicious reasons.

The new guidelines will also ensure that engineers “design out” cyber security threats as they develop new vehicles, it said in a statement.

“Whether we’re turning vehicles into wifi-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,” said Lord Callanan, a minister in the Department for Transport.

“Our key principles give advice on what organisations should do, from the board level down, as well as technical design and development considerations.”

The new guidelines include making the systems able to withstand receiving corrupt, invalid or malicious data or commands, and allowing users to delete personally identifiable data held on a vehicle’s systems.

Manufacturers must plan for how to maintain and support security over the lifetime of the vehicle, the government said, and personal accountability for product security should be held at board level.

Alongside this, the UK Government said it was also planning new legislation governing insurance for self-driving cars.