Congress

Senators want to shore up automotive cybersecurity

Shutterstock image (by My Life Graphic): Pushing a touch screen interface in a vehicle.

(My Life Graphic / Shutterstock)

Congress is taking an interest in a new kind of mobile cybersecurity. As computers control more and more of the functions of modern cars, the more vulnerable they are to getting hacked. A pair of senators is looking to set federal standards governing both the security of cars with network-connected computers, and the privacy of the drivers.

The legislation from Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) would establish the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission as regulators of security and privacy in connected cars.

"Drivers shouldn’t have to choose between being connected and being protected. We need clear rules of the road that protect cars from hackers and American families from data trackers," Markey said.

The bill would create performance standards to require "reasonable measures" against hacks and require automakers to conduct penetration testing on their own systems while implementing data security to guard against exfiltration of data stored in cars and on connected networks. The legislation also calls for technology to detect and report intrusion attempts.

Efforts by automakers to thwart hacks and promote cyber hygiene will be tracked on a "cyber dashboard" set up by NHTSA and the FTC. The dashboard information would be displayed on new cars at dealerships.

The bill comes the same day as a report in Wired that detailed how two security researchers were able to remotely hack into and take control of a Jeep Cherokee.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


Featured

  • FCW Perspectives
    human machine interface

    Your agency isn’t ready for AI

    To truly take advantage, government must retool both its data and its infrastructure.

  • Cybersecurity
    secure network (bluebay/Shutterstock.com)

    Federal CISO floats potential for new supply chain regs

    The federal government's top IT security chief and canvassed industry for feedback on how to shape new rules of the road for federal acquisition and procurement.

  • People
    DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, shown here at her Nov. 8, 2017, confirmation hearing. DHS Photo by Jetta Disco

    DHS chief Nielsen resigns

    Kirstjen Nielsen, the first Homeland Security secretary with a background in cybersecurity, is being replaced on an acting basis by the Customs and Border Protection chief. Her last day is April 10.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.