Thatcham chips in to boost vehicle cyber security

By CARSIFU | 29 October 2015

LONDON: Establishing standards to promote consumer confidence around vehicle cyber security is high on the agenda for Thatcham Research, as the British insurers’ research centre focuse on fighting future car crime as the newest members of the Cyber Security Consortium for Connected Vehicles (CCV).

Connected vehicle technology provides the basis for many emerging driver assistance and comfort systems yet it’s this convergence between automotive and computer technology that could also provide opportunity for cyber attackers. However, according to Thatcham’s chief technology officer Andrew Miller, the key to keeping thieves at bay is in a joined up approach to creating robust standards.

“There are a wide range of stakeholders with an obvious interest in this area from the likes of Google and Apple who are increasingly moving into the automotive space to the more traditional vehicle manufacturers. With this mix of interested parties it’s critical to quickly establish a set of robust security standards and protocols around cyber security that everyone can agree and work to and which will avoid the kind of fragmented approach that hackers could exploit.”

“No connected computer system can be 100% guaranteed, and as technological development in the automotive industry continues at pace so that security threat potentially increases,” said Miller. “However, Thatcham have demonstrated previously how a collaborative approach can help the authorities stay one step ahead of the criminals.”

Thatcham’s has been responsible for evaluating security levels on all new vehicles destined for British roads, both as a basis for insurance grouping and as a consumer guide to vehicle security standards.

Since Thatcham established its specialist security team in the mid-90s cases of vehicle theft have fallen to less than 100,000 per year, down from over 600,000, whilst insurers are saving an estimated £300m in claims costs per year compared to the figure at its height.

Now as part of the Cyber Security Consortium for Connected Vehicles Thatcham will provide their experience in the development of new standards around Cyber Security, as well as in their influence on vehicle and product manufacturers to establish a coordinated approach to future security solutions.