Automakers Must Do More for Connected Car Security

Concerns over the safety of connected cars persist among consumers, according to a TU-Automotive survey about automotive cybersecurity.

Two thirds of respondents (66%) said automakers are not doing enough to secure connected and autonomous vehicles, and 30% of respondents believe the biggest hurdle to solving automotive security is a lack of industry standards.

In addition, 20% of those surveyed agreed adequate security technology is the biggest stumbling block for overall security, and 27% felt a need for cross-industry collaboration, according to the TU-Automotive study (formerly Telematics Update).

When it comes to how automotive security services impact the way customers interact with their vehicles, 34% of those surveyed said services should operate in the background with no user interaction. In addition, 30% of respondents said customers could be restricted in connecting to their car’s Internet or connecting their cars to the Internet, and 22% said customers would be able to manage their car’s security themselves, much as consumers deal with their home PCs’ anti-virus applications.

Among the world’s automakers, 22% of respondents found Elon Musk’s Tesla electric car company to have the best security, making it the most trusted brand. On the other hand, 15% of those polled credited German auto giant BMW with the best automotive security, followed by archrival Daimler — maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars — with 11%.

However, legacy American automakers didn’t fare as well, with just 7% of respondents judging General Motors (GM) and Ford as the tops for cyber security. Competitors did worse: a mere 5% cited Japanese automaker Toyota as the most trusted brand for auto cybersecurity, while only 2% credited competitor Nissan, the survey found.

Surprisingly, a little under a third of respondents (29%) cited “Other” when it comes to selecting their most trusted brand for automotive cybersecurity.

There is a dearth of education for original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMS) partners and customers, 11% of survey respondents said. There also is a lack of cybersecurity experts, found 9% of those polled.

When it comes to priorities for developing cyber secure automotive systems, 38% want more development of global standards and best practices, 19% see a need for better information sharing and collaboration and 19% require additional investment in cyber security technology.

Furthermore, 9% would prefer better education within teams and for suppliers, 3% said vulnerability disclosure programs are important and 2% noted recruiting the right talent should be a top priority.

Overall, most (69%) of survey respondents believe all stakeholders involved in securing connected and autonomous vehicles should share the burden of creating a secure vehicle. But 24% believe it is the sole responsibility of the automaker to secure the car they produce.

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