Researchers at Intel Security recently highlighted the potential risk to connected cars from ransomeware.

With the numbers of connected vehicles already increasing dramatically year on year, and ramsomware being the current weapon of choice for cyber criminals, we can expect drivers to be targeted in future.

Today a cybercriminal will trick a victim into opening a malicious file, or a clicking on a link, which causes their computer to be infected with malware that encrypts the data stored on the device. The cybercriminal then demands the victim pay a ransom in order to get their systems unlocked. The rise of this type of attack in 2016 is testament to the simple fact they work. The higher the cost of lock out, the more chance of the victim paying up.

The piece below by Danny Palmer reports on how a vulnerability allowing malware to enter a vehicle infotainment system could potentially be exploited to access operationally critical vehicle systems and used to disable the vehicle altogether, until a ransom is paid.

In response to such risks we can expect to see the OEM's and second tier suppliers attempting to decouple the more accessible and vulnerable interfaces of the vehicle from the operationally critical systems of the vehicle. Alternatively, if safety becomes a significant concern, we may see the introduction of new legislation intended to protect the consumer by mandating certain levels of security between the more vulnerable interfaces of the connected car and its operationally critical systems.

The need for legislation to be updated and for new regulation and policy in this area is undeniable. However any changes need to be purposeful, effective and simple enough to avoid unnecessary burden on businesses. To educate our clients and ensure we are involved in cutting edge issues relating to cyber security Olswang has become a founder member of the Cyber Policy Center, established by leading cyber academics, Professor Tim Watson Director of the Cyber Security Centre at WMG within the University of Warwick, Professor Colin Williams Visiting Professor at De Montfort University, an Honorary Fellow of the University of Warwick, and James Morris MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis. More later on this subject.