Most of us really want connected cars to have proper security protection, research finds

(Image credit: Future)

Cars are getting “smarter”, and people who intend on using these vehicles want them to have proper cybersecurity protections, according to a new report by BlackBerry.

The company sought to learn about people’s thoughts on Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cybersecurity protections for such devices, in preparation for the launch of a cybersecurity labelling program for IoT devices, such as smart speakers and door cams, in 2023.

The program, not unlike the EnergyStar program that tells consumers how much energy a gadget is using, would tell consumers more about the level of security embedded in IoT devices.

Helpful ratings

BlackBerry polled over 1000 people and found that three-quarters (74%) agree - connected cars and electric vehicle charging stations should be rated based on the level of cybersecurity protections baked in. 

Elsewhere in the report, it was found that only half (54%) of the respondents worry about their IoT devices being hijacked and used as endpoints in things like botnets, or ransomware attacks. 

What’s more, a third (32%) said they owned IoT devices and keep them disconnected due to cybersecurity concerns. Still, 82% agree - a cybersecurity rating like this one would be helpful.

The survey won't guarantee that the program will end up including smart cars in the labeling program, but the White House gauging the public’s opinion on the subject may indicate the direction of the project.

Smart cars' inclusion in the program would certainly be welcome, given that reports of smart cars being hacked, with potentially dangerous consequences, are nothing new.

In February 2020, cybersecurity experts McAfee published their own report warning that a vehicle's artificial intelligence (AI) systems can be manipulated, possibly impacting the future and safety of autonomous vehicles.

The process, which McAfee calls "model hacking", is able to completely override the software systems within vehicles. The constant evolution of AI technology, and smart cars themselves, makes model hacking an issue that will plague smart car owners for years to come.

We may not see the full impact on "model hacking" until then, as autonomous vehicle technology is in early development, and the beta technology that Tesla, for example, offers to consumers is a long way from entering the mainstream. 

While we might not need to get too worried at the moment, an awareness of the risks surrounding smart cars would prepare us for the future, and the White House's planned program should help.

Via: Ars Technica

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.