Future MOT Tests May Include Cars To Be Tested For Cyber Security To Prevent Hacks

MOT tests may soon introduce the clause when driverless cars hit the road to ensure safety and quality standards are maintained for road users. The new safety standard known as CAV PASS, will help minimise defects ahead of testing and wider deployment of autonomous cars on UK roads. The new measures will first focus on enabling trialling for self driving vehicles but the aim is to asssure security for cars when they are finally sold to the public. The scheme is part of an ongoing project to build the first code of practice for automated vehicle trials so scientists can build the cars of the future.

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Javvad Malik
Javvad Malik , Security Awareness Advocate
InfoSec Expert
June 3, 2020 10:25 am

New cars are like computers on wheels, so it makes sense to put in place security and safety checks of the underlying technology. This is arguably just as important as checking the physical roadworthiness of a vehicle. While these proposed checks will be limited in what they can offer, at least they can ensure that the latest patches are installed and there aren\’t any underlying issues. However, it does beg the question as to how long manufacturers will be obliged to support the software in cars and what happens to older cars which cannot be updated anymore.

Last edited 2 years ago by Javvad Malik
Boris Cipot
Boris Cipot , Senior Sales Engineer
InfoSec Expert
June 3, 2020 10:22 am

The introduction of a standard such as this can help in providing the needed oversight, stability as well as transparency when it comes to creating processes and protocols during product development. It also allows for the identification of any missteps, and to adapt, evolve and mature the technology to its best and, in this case, safest version. This is an important step when talking about a technology that can, on one hand, be highly advantageous, but also life-threatening.

Last edited 2 years ago by Boris Cipot
Jake Moore
Jake Moore , Cybersecurity Specialist
InfoSec Expert
June 3, 2020 10:17 am

Being possibly the second most expensive item you own after your home, it is absolutely vital that your car security is up to scratch. However, car manufacturers have a history of cutting corners, and cars remain vulnerable to theft. Once driverless cars have become standard, they will come with additional potential dangers, such as remote take over if hacked.

Keyless entry has been a problem for many years, and many cars are still stolen when keys are cloned remotely. But when you add cyber-attacks to the list of potential vulnerabilities, it’s clear that car manufacturers do not always keep security in mind during the design phase. Any new standards introduced will be extremely helpful.

However, MOT mechanics can’t be expected to be information security specialists on every car. Although new standards may be brought in, the constant review of threats may be extremely difficult to manage.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jake Moore
Hugo Van den Toorn
Hugo Van den Toorn , Manager, Offensive Security
InfoSec Expert
June 2, 2020 11:18 am

This is a great development for the automotive industry, an industry known for its ever-growing array of industry standards and technologies. Having a standard that includes testing the security as part of the overall safety of vehicles is a great way forward. Not just for autonomous vehicles but even for non-autonomous cars being produced today, which are becoming increasingly connected and ‘smart’. Smart dashboards, interconnected infotainment systems, 4G modules, mobile car companion apps, and an array of diagnostics and sensors all connecting to the central processing unit inside the vehicle.

If an attacker is able to intercept data sent by the vehicle, or if the data is centrally stored and insufficiently secured, attackers could learn about the drivers and their vehicles. If attackers are able to somehow manipulate the data that is interpreted by the car’s systems, a whole new range of attacks opens up, which could directly affect the physical world. Although this has been a worry with security of cyber-physical systems for many years already, the automotive industry is so big that it would be great to have a standard such as this to lessen the worry and ensure sufficient testing. Keep in mind though, that even though there is a standard for testing these vehicles, no vehicle will ever be ‘hacker proof’. As hackers are ever-so curious, there will always be flaws uncovered by them at a later stage.

Last edited 2 years ago by Hugo Van den Toorn
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