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Cybersecurity: Eye on cybersecurity as cars go smart | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Greater Noida: A government-backed vehicle testing institute is looking to invest in developing cybersecurity expertise, as the introduction of internet connectivity and computers in new-generation cars brings to the fore the need to shield them from remote hacking, just like smartphones and computers do.

The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), which certifies vehicles for their safety and compliance with local laws, is planning to invest in a centre that will develop the expertise for cybersecurity, among other things, said Saurabh Dalela, the institute’s director.

“There are more and more electronics getting into a car, with more than 30 ECUs (electronic control unit) in a car,” he told ET. “And what is typically happening is that just like you get updates on the phone, you’ve started to get updates for the ECUs in the car. This is done over the internet. This creates a vulnerability.”

The extent of the vulnerability was highlighted by an industry executive who said, “Just imagine in the next terrorist attack, somebody sitting far away can hack into the ABS (anti-lock braking system) ECU of cars and make the brakes fail…” The executive requested not to be named.

On their part, automakers are bolstering their own efforts to secure their vehicles from such vulnerabilities.

“It’s a real threat,” said Shailesh Chandra, the managing director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Limited. “Cybersecurity is a very integral part of our vehicle development going ahead, and we are working on it.”

Arun Krishnamurthi, the managing director of Axiscades Technologies, said, “It can put the safety of occupants at risk.” ICAT’s Dalela said that while the subject hasn’t captured everybody’s imagination, the testing institute wants to take the initiative on cybersecurity of cars, as it plans to expand its capabilities beyond design, testing and homologation. The plan includes having another campus apart from the two that ICAT has at Manesar, near Delhi.

The planned campus will also have capabilities in fields such as autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), connected vehicles, advanced electric vehicles (EV), hydrogen technology, and automotive software solution and services.

Dalela clarified that plans are still in the early phase and no decision has been taken yet. “We’d have to check our financials before we make that move, but at least the vision should be there,” Dalela said. “We may or may not achieve it; that’s a separate matter altogether. But we should at least have that thought.”


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National Cyber Security