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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amidst legislative stalling, a consortium of twelve manufacturers has developed a framework for automotive cybersecurity best practices.

The big picture: At first glance, their guidelines hit the right points — incorporating security into design, developing risk assessment and incident response strategies — but current security solutions are not sufficient against increasingly sophisticated threats.

Background: The Self-Drive Act, a bill that didn't make it through Congress, required “manufacturers of highly automated vehicles to develop written cybersecurity and privacy plans for such vehicles prior to offering them for sale.”

  • However, it fell short of prescribing specific guidelines for how security systems will ensure those objectives.
  • In developing their own safety and cybersecurity guidelines, automakers were trying to keep drivers and passengers safe — and also aiming to satisfy regulators who, in the absence of industry action or input, could impose rules that may be less favorable to companies.

What's happening: Today, most security solutions rely on rules, logic and signatures to detect threats, but this means they can only detect known threats. Contemporary security systems essentially do the bare minimum to comply with security guidances.

  • This is one reason current security measures are not the best place to start in designing a framework. Any time hackers develop new viruses or malware, cybersecurity programs play catch-up.

What's needed: To go beyond compliance and prevent hackers before they compromise security measures, manufacturers need to develop systems that will enable them to meet these still-unknown threats.

  • Examination of vehicle system behavior anomalies could be a solution. If a hacker tries to install malware into a vehicle's ECU, the system would detect activity in the ECU that should not be taking place.
  • In another scenario, if a vehicle's ECU is acting in an irregular manner, that could mean that malware is present. The system could be programmed to block vehicle operations until the threat is addressed, preventing the malware from acting.

The bottom line: Cyber threats are increasing as more vehicles become connected, and as connected vehicles become more sophisticated. Current solutions are not advanced enough to satisfy the spirit of even the strictest security and privacy guidelines. Updating the solutions and frameworks should go hand in hand.

Yossi Vardi is the CEO of SafeRide Technologies, an automotive cybersecurity startup.

Go deeper

California to pay off unpaid rent accrued during COVID-19 pandemic

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California will pay off the accumulated unpaid rent that has piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The move would fulfill a promise to landlords to help them to break even, while giving renters relief, the AP writes.

U.S. announces destinations for 55 million more COVID vaccine doses

President Biden at a press conference on the final day of the G7 summit. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Monday announced a list of countries that will receive the remaining 55 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that the U.S. has pledged to allocate by the end of this month.

The state of play: The White House had previously named the recipients of the first 25 million of the 80 million doses that the U.S. has pledged to export, as it took its first step toward becoming a global vaccine supplier.

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