DETROIT -- Automakers are forming a consortium to deter hackers who might try to breach a vehicle’s security system -- an effort that has gotten the blessing of federal regulators.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers are helping to coordinate the effort, said David Strickland, the former director of NHTSA who now is a consultant for Venable LLP.
Automakers want to create secure firewalls for vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and also for vehicle data links to “the cloud.”
The idea is for automakers to share information about attempted security breaches, so that any threat can be quickly neutralized.
Strickland outlined the consortium’s formation Tuesday on the sidelines of the Convergence conference, an event sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
“The goal is to make it very, very hard” for hackers to breach a vehicle’s security system, said Strickland, who is doing some consulting work for one of the participants. “Can you make it a zero risk? No, but you want to make it so hard that you can foreclose most opportunities.”
In a July 1 letter to David J. Friedman, NHTSA’s acting administrator, the CEOs of both industry groups endorsed the project. “We are jointly working towards establishing a mechanism for sharing vehicle cyber-security information, threats, warnings and incidents among industry stakeholders,” the letter stated.
Bentley Au, chief information security officer for Toyota Motor Sales USA, confirmed that a consortium is being formed and that Toyota is participating.
“It’s just getting started,” said Au, who was a panelist at the conference. “It will be similar to the security consortiums in other industries” such as aviation, the financial industry and the power grid.
It will take a year or so to create the consortium, which Strickland said would be called the Information Sharing Advisory Center, or Auto-ISAC.