Connected vehicle technology is on the rise, offering customers a wealth of new features. However, this technology also leaves users more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, and as such, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has released updated cybersecurity best practices for new vehicles.
Dubbed the Cyber Security Best Practices for the Safety of Modern Vehicles, the new NHTSA guidelines were updated from a previous version released in 2016. The latest guidelines are based on NHTSA research, industry voluntary standards, and lessons learned from motor vehicle cybersecurity research conducted over the last several years. The guidelines were published in draft form in the Federal Register last year.
The new guidelines are non-binding, but provide automakers with best practices intended to enhance cybersecurity and mitigate risks for consumers going forward. The NHTSA also states that it “routinely” assesses cybersecurity risks and best practice recommendations as motor vehicles and related equipment evolve over time.
The latest 21-page document offers recommendations for hardening a vehicle’s electronic architecture against potential attacks, as well as practices that ensure vehicle systems follow through with appropriate safety actions, even if an attack is successful. The NHTSA recommends a systematic approach to developing layered cybersecurity protections, including risk-based prioritization of protection for safety-critical vehicle control systems and sensitive information, timely detection and rapid response to potential threats, rapid recovery when attacks do occur, and institutionalized methods for the accelerated adoption of lessons learned across the industry, including effective information sharing among automakers.
As GM develops its latest vehicle platforms, the automaker has also developed a new electronic architecture dubbed GM Global B. Acting as the vehicle “nervous system,” Global B handles a vehicle’s digital features through a system of hardware and software, offering a variety of benefits over preceding electronic architectures, including over-the-air updates, improved in-vehicle system communication, a smoother infotainment and user interface experience, and improved cybersecurity as well.
Back in 2019, GM announced a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army intended to improve cybersecurity for GM vehicles, as well as for the armed forces.