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Automobile Industry Accelerates Into Security
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Beau Woods
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Beau Woods,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/16/2014 | 10:34:42 AM
How do researchers interface with the group
I'm excited to hear the news that the Auto Industry is getting more proactive about security issues, especially those which can affect human life and public safety. Is there any indication of how security researchers interface with the ISAC? For instance, will the group help coordinate disclosures with the broader industry? Will they solicit recommendations for improving security from researchers and get those to the automakers themselves? 

I'm part of a growing group of security researchers called I Am The Cavalry and we are pushing for exactly these sorts of collaborations between the research community and manufacturers. So far the people we have talked to in those organizations have been interested in working together but there are few mechanisms to do so. Hopefully this ISAC can serve some of that function.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
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Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/16/2014 | 9:57:06 AM
Re: Automobile cyber security
Your concerns and questions are spot on, @GonzSTL. No specifics yet from the auto industry folks on just how they plan to secure, fix, and address vulns in these current and future automation and networked features, but it is a crucial endeavor. I am looking forward to seeing how the auto industry ultimately works with security researchers, etc., because more and more of them are scrutinizing auto technologies for vulns.
GonzSTL
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GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
7/16/2014 | 9:52:35 AM
Automobile cyber security
A while back, I saw a video demonstrating the takeover of an automobile's electronic control systems via a cell phone. That was rather scary! I imagined myself driving a "connected" car, listening to music I had previously downloaded from the internet and saved to portable media (CD, USB drive, SD card, smartphone, etc.) that was plugged in to my car audio system, without knowing that the music file I downloaded contained a remote access trojan designed for automobile systems. Additionally, by sheer coincidence another driver in a similar situation happened to share the same road, and was headed towards me. What if both trojans were controlled by the same bad guy? It is not difficult to envision other nasty scenarios regarding automobile cyber security.

Automobile computer environments are really just a microcosm of IT infrastructures we see in organizations. They are comprised of multiple computers, each with their own functions, and most of them communicate with each other via a data network. Shouldn't we see proper segmentation and layered security within those automobile computer systems, in the same way we see them in our organizational computing environments? I realize that additional layers of security incur additional expense, and impact automated decisions cricital in the safe operation of the vehicle, but certainly the scenario above, and other, more potentially damaging scenarios justify the need.

I certainly hope that automobile systems security isn't treated in the same way that King Roland secured their "air shield", prompting Dark Helmet's comment "So the combination is... one, two, three, four, five? That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!"
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