As cars and other forms of transportation increasingly rely on online systems for everything from safety to onboard entertainment, the cybersecurity threat from those who would exploit such electronic control packages has also increased.
That's why the US Department of Transportation (DOT) today issued a Request For Information to the security industry to help it devise a roadmap to build "motor vehicle safeguards against cybersecurity threats and assure the reliability and safety of automotive electronic control systems."
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According to the RFI: "The DOT is collecting relevant information to characterize needs and establish a strategic research roadmap to meet the rising challenges of ensuring the safety of automotive safety-critical systems due to increasing complexity of motor vehicle systems using advanced electronic controls to improve drivability, safety, efficiency, and operational reliability; escalating use of information technology in motor vehicles to enhance basic and secondary vehicle functions and to enable infotainment applications; and wireless connectivity to in-vehicle systems, between vehicles and external information networks, and among vehicles."
The DOT wants input to help it make strategic decisions about "next research steps and justifying initiatives relative to research possibilities as well as revised approaches to regulation, enforcement, incident/forensics, vehicle testing, communications/outreach/professional capacity building, or recommended electronic hardware/software systems architecture and engineering design safeguard principles and/or practices, including human factors and training considerations."
Basically starting from scratch, the DOT is looking at all manner of cybersecurity topics including:
The DOT is working with the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), to gather the information.
The DOT's own Connected Vehicles program is a prime example of what the agency is looking to protect. The Connected vehicles program includes cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles fitted with technology that lets them communicate with each other online and with roadway infrastructure like traffic lights, dangerous road segments, and railroad crossings to avoid accidents, be alerted for roadway problems and other hazards.
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