How Does Cybersecurity Influence Our Safety On The Road?
Our Accident Attorneys in Georgia Discuss How Cybersecurity Influences Our Safety On The Road
Hackers like to hack computers and they do not limit themselves to just hacking into desktop computers. Car manufacturers not only must concern themselves with the safety of their vehicles in the traditional sense, but now they have an obligation to make sure that the computer systems on board their newer vehicles cannot be hacked and render the vehicle unsafe to drive. Utilizing the "Internet of things," computers on board motor vehicles can communicate with others on the road in addition to connecting with other systems and manufacturers for updates. As a result, vehicle operators must have the peace of mind to know that their vehicle's computers will work properly. Otherwise, their life and the lives of all others on the road can be in jeopardy.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes that cyber-attacks can make a motor vehicle vulnerable. The NHTSA works to hold manufacturers to the standard imposed by U.S. law, that is, their vehicles must be free from unreasonable risks. One of those risks, according to the NHTSA, is that electronic systems can be hacked. Accordingly, the NHTSA issued a comprehensive series of industry guidelines geared toward safeguarding the integrity of electronic systems in motor vehicles.
Manufacturer compliance with the NHTSA guidelines is voluntary at this time. However, states like Georgia have stringent consumer protection laws that could fill in some gaps or loopholes left open by federal law. Therefore it would be a sound business decision for vehicle manufacturers to comply with the NHTSA guidelines.
The NHTSA guidelines propose an approach toward protecting vehicles from cyber attacks, which involves five critical points: "Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover." In addition, the NHTSA encourages vehicle manufacturers to build a comprehensive defensive systems designed to:
- Identify risks that could compromise the safety systems as well as valuable personal information stored on the vehicle's computer systems;
- Achieve the capacity to detect cyber attacks while the car is in operation and then eliminate the threat without requiring specialized attention;
- Include methods to recover in the event of a successful cyber attack; and
- Share information across the board with industry leaders so that every lesson learned could be shared with other companies in an effort to prevent threats in the future.
One area upon which the automotive industry must focus is having a defined procedure for responding to cyber threats. Without it, companies can get caught without a solution and be searching to find one. It is easy to envision a scenario when a steering control system could be hacked and just when the driver needs the steering assist in his or her car, the system does not work, and the driver crashes because they lost control. Additionally, cyber threats could acquire GPS information from the vehicle. Conceivably, a person with malicious intent could hack a GPS device and know where the drive is at all times, leaving the person and their home vulnerable to a physical attack. This is why vehicle manufacturers must update their software and security regularly, as you would with a home computer, to prevent or reduce the effectiveness of cyber attacks on automobiles.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333