United States: This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile: Car Hacking And The SPY Car Act

Not coincidentally, on July 21, 2015, Wired Magazine published an article with groundbreaking evidence of hacking a car wirelessly, and Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced legislation that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards to secure cars and protect drivers' privacy. The cleverly named Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act, which can be found here, also establishes a cyber-dashboard that provides ratings and informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers' privacy and security beyond the minimum standards in the legislation.

Impact to Businesses

These developments demonstrate the continually increasing privacy and security risks that confront all businesses in today's interconnected world. These lessons from the connected car industry should be taken to heart by all companies given the recent and future explosion of information and connectivity available through the Internet – from will the Internet of Things (connected health and fitness devices, thermostats, refrigerators and televisions) to companies using cloud-based service providers to store and maintain sensitive and confidential business information and personal information about consumers and employees.

The Hijacked Jeep

Wired reporter Andy Greenberg, who has reported previously on successful car hacking efforts, was behind the wheel of a Jeep Cherokee driving 70 mph on Interstate 64 outside of St. Louis when out of nowhere the AC started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, the radio switch to the local hip-hop station and was turned up to full volume, the windshield wipers turned on, and wiper fluid blurred the glass. Mr. Greenberg was unable to turn down the music or override the other remotely controlled events. A picture of the two hackers – Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek – then appeared on the card's digital display.

While the hack was not a surprise to Mr. Greenberg, he was unaware what tricks the hackers would pull and the "grand finale" was yet to come – the accelerator stopped working. Mr. Greenberg press the accelerator and although the RPMs climbed the Jeep continued to lose speed as it slowed to a crawl. Being on an overpass with no shoulder, Mr. Greenberg started to worry when he saw an 18-wheeler bearing down on him from behind. The other capabilities available to the hackers include the ability to kill the engine completely at lower speeds; disable and engage the brakes; and surveillance, by tracking the car's GPS coordinates, measuring its speed and dropping pins on a map to trace its route.

While all ended well, even this staged event shows the significant safety risks when cars can be hacked. The hackers estimate there are approximately 471,000 hackable automobiles. Two years earlier the same hackers hacked two other cars which Mr. Greenberg was driving, but had their computer hard wired into the vehicle's onboard diagnostic port. This time the attack was wirelessly over the Internet. Chrysler issued a security patch on July 16, 2015 to remedy the vulnerability.

The SPY Car Act

Last year, Senator Markey released the report Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk, which detailed major deficiencies in how car manufacturers are incorporating security into connected cars. The report noted that only two of the 16 car companies had developed any capability to detect and respond to a hacking attack in real time and, and most consumers do not know that their information is being collected and shared with third parties.

"Drivers shouldn't have to choose between being connected and being protected," said Senator Markey. "We need clear rules of the road that protect cars from hackers and American families from data trackers. This legislation will set minimum standards and transparency rules to protect the data, security and privacy of drivers in the modern age of increasingly connected vehicles. I look forward to working with Senator Blumenthal to ensure auto safety and security in the 21st century."

The two Jeep hackers – Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller – commented on the legislation "We feel that as cars become more connected, software security becomes more important In addition to robust, well-tested software, technology for monitoring, logging, detecting, and possibly stopping attacks should also be implemented."

The SPY Car Act includes the privacy and security provisions, as well as the establishment of a rating system, or "cyber dashboard."

Privacy Standards

The legislation would require the FTC, in consultation with NHTSA, to develop privacy standards on the data collected by cars:

  • Transparency. Owners are made explicitly aware of collection, transmission, retention, and use of driving data.
  • Consumer choice. Owners are able to opt out of data collection and retention without losing access to key navigation or other features (when technically feasible), except for in the case of electronic data recorders or other safety or regulatory systems.
  • Marketing prohibition. Personal driving information may not be used for advertising or marketing purposes without the owner clearly opting in.

Cybersecurity Standards

Similarly, the NHTSA, in consultation with the FTC, would develop standards to prevent hacking into vehicle controls systems:

  • Hacking protection. All access points in the car must be equipped with reasonable measures to protect against hacking attacks, including isolation of critical software systems and evaluation using best security practices, such as penetration testing.
  • Data security. All collected information must be secured to prevent unwanted access—while stored on-board, in transit, and stored off-board.
  • Hacking mitigation. The vehicle must be equipped with technology that can detect, report and stop hacking attempts in real-time.

Cyber Dashboard

Finally, the NHTSA, in consultation with FTC, would establish a "cyber dashboard" that displays an evaluation of how well each automobile protects both the security and privacy of vehicle owners beyond those minimum standards. This information would be presented in a transparent, consumer-friendly form on the window sticker of all new vehicles.

The SPY Car Act legislation adopts several of the privacy and security principles published by the auto manufacturing industry in its self-regulatory principles from November, 2014 –  Consumer Privacy Protection Principles – Privacy Principles for Vehicle Technologies and Services.

Conclusion

The exponential growth of connected devices, as well as sensitive business and personal information being moved to the "cloud" requires all businesses – not just car manufacturers – to remain fully informed and diligent with respect to the evolving privacy and security risks. The Jeep hacking and introduction of the SPY Car Act are examples of how the research community, privacy advocates, the media and politicians will continue to assume a watchdog role, requiring companies to constantly assess and reassess privacy and security risks associated with their products, services and critical information assets.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions