Rise of connected cars prompting increased concerns over cyber attacks

67 per cent of new cars are ‘connected’ with all new cars expected to be connected by 2026

Connected car cyber attacks rose by 700 per cent between 2010 and 2019, according to new analysis, prompting fresh warnings from experts.

Some 67 per cent of new cars registered in the UK are ‘connected’, meaning they transmit data to their manufacturer via the internet.

By 2026, it’s thought that all new cars will be connected.

Security firm Upstream, revealed the 700 per cent rise in cyber attacks on connected cars.

The company analysed 367 global data-breach incidents between 2010 and 2019 involving cars, 155 of which took place in 2019 alone – a growth of 99 per cent over the previous year.

One incident in October 2019 saw a mobile phone app Mercedes drivers could use to locate and unlock their cars sometimes showed other people’s accounts and vehicle information.

The previous month, thieves were caught on camera stealing a Tesla in under 30 seconds using a keyless entry hack.

July 2019 saw an exposed database at Honda allowing anyone to see which of its systems had security vulnerabilities, risking 134 million rows of employee data.

Earlier in the year, Toyota suffered two separate cyber attacks in the space of five weeks, with the offenders accessing servers that held sales information related to 3.1 million customers.

Jonathon O’Mara, a cybersecurity expert working for CompareMyVPN is calling on regulators and cybersecurity firms to ensure connected car data is encrypted end-to-end to reduce third party threats, as well as to monitor what data is actually stored and kept.

Connected cars and independent garages

Earlier this year, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) warned that connected cars could see vehicle manufacturers restrict access to vehicle data for the independent garage sector, limiting consumer choice for their service and repairs.

Frank Harvey, head of member services at the IGA said: “To ensure fair competition between franchised and independent garages, protocols must be put in place to allow fair and open access to the data generated.

“It is therefore vital that vehicle connectivity data is not monopolised by vehicle manufacturers, restricting the consumer choice.”

The IGA is calling for fair competition to be maintained ahead of Block Exemption expiry in 2023.

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