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.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “We’re pleased that Government is taking action now to ensure a seamless transition to fully connected and autonomous cars in the future and, given this shift will take place globally, that it is championing cyber security and shared best practice at an international level.
“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.”
The Government said that it will continue to support and work collaboratively with industry to make sure vehicles are protected from cyber-attacks. The guidance principles published today will form a key part of these discussions, it said.