In Cybersecurity News: Ransomware's Automotive Threat

It's become one of the most popular and well recognized examples of digital infiltration. Perhaps you've seen it. A hacked Jeep traveling 70 mph had its engine killed on the highway, scaring the driver and possibly anyone else with a connected car. Not only did the video go viral, it became a wakeup call for the tech and auto industries.

Luckily, this piece of cybersecurity news was not the result of malicious hackers, but instead an experiment by two security researchers who discovered that you can control the steering, transmission and even the brakes of a car by hacking its internet−connected entertainment system. Our devices' interconnectedness, though incredibly convenient, increases our likelihood of experiencing a cyberattack. With our vehicles running in part on computer software, we are opening ourselves up to attack. What can we do to stay safe and keep cybercriminals from gaining "electronic" entry to our cars?

The Smart Car's Defenses
After learning how to gain access to the vehicle's software, the researchers later released their findings to Chrysler, who patched some of the security flaws. Nevertheless, it is frightening to think that your car could be hacked by anyone with a connection to the internet.

While it's unlikely your car will be affected in the same way as the Jeep above (it's actually incredibly difficult to pull off), it's expected that as many as three−quarters of new cars will have internet connectivity by 2020. The U.S. Department of Justice warns that soon self−driving cars might become a liability out on the road, with a litany of cyberattacks including ransomware infecting the vehicle's software and in turn its self−driving capabilities.

Attacks of these type are nothing new and have been used to lockdown computers for decades. In recent years the attacks have spread to new technologies including mobile devices, webcams, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Automotive malware is simply the next logical step for crafty cybercriminals; and could be especially troublesome for ridesharing fleets, auto sellers and other vehicle−based businesses.

Thankfully, cybersecurity needs of this scale are not unprecedented. The aviation industry has established several advisory boards and organizations to safeguard airplanes against cyber hijacking. The Cybersecurity Standards for Aircraft to Improve Resilience Act (Cyber AIR Act), for example, is working to establish cybersecurity guidelines on the federal level. And airlines are currently receptive to these ideas, with more than 90 percent saying they plan to invest in cybersecurity.

Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued its guide for improved motor safety. But while the auto industry gets up to snuff, it's important to protect your own interests with cyber policy insurance. After all, hacking isn't just an automotive problem. It's a problem that threatens a swath of industries including retail, finance and healthcare.

Cyber policy insurance protects your company against the damaging effects of data breach, malware instruction, ransomware extortion and much more. For pennies a day you can defend your most valuable assets, rather than spend thousands in damages.

Interested in learning more? Get Your Quote from CyberPolicy today.

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