Hacking group trying to build better ties with carmakers

Article by Andrew Christian, on August 13, 2014

A non-profit group of well-known hackers and security professionals known as "I am the Calvary" has asked support from attendees at the recent Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas by urging them to sign an open letter to "Automotive CEOs" asking them to implement basic guidelines to defend autos from cyber attacks.

The letter remarked that the once “distinct worlds” of autos and cyber security have now collided, which means it now time for the auto industry and the security community to connect and collaborate. Vehicles do depend on tiny computers to manage or control several processes and systems like engines, brakes, navigation, air conditioning and windshield wipers.

According to security experts, it is now a matter of time before malicious hackers could software glitches in computers used in autos, posing risks to drivers. The Calvary group was to make a presentation at Def Con on Saturday about efforts to improve auto security.

Josh Corman, a security industry professional and co-founder of the group, remarked that Cavalry would not disclose specific issues that might embarrass carmakers. That approach is in sharp contrasts with most of the hacking research presented at Def Con.

For instance, a paper reviewed 20 vehicle models to find the three "most hackable" cars. That would certainly upset carmakers. On the other hand, the Cavalry group’s approach is bent on smoothing relations between researchers and the auto industry through the promotion responsible disclosure.

This means that once a bug is discovered, researchers will first approach carmakers and tell them about the flaws, allowing them to fix those glitches before going public. Corman said their goal is to build trust. [source: Reuters]

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