US automakers form alliance to prevent vehicle hacking.

US automakers are forming an alliance due to incidents like a Jeep Cherokee being hacked by researchers. Image courtesy of Jeep
US automakers are forming an alliance due to incidents like a Jeep Cherokee being hacked by researchers. Image courtesy of Jeep.

A group of US automakers are trying to establish a defence against potential car hackers through a business alliance.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers are working to establish an Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC) in the fight against car hacking.

The centre will act as a secure, industry-wide clearinghouse for intelligence about cyber threats to vehicles and their networks, and the best practices on how to safeguard and respond to these threats.

The push from the automakers alliance to focus on cybersecurity comes in the wake of a Jeep Cherokee vehicle being hacked by security experts who controlled functions of the vehicle while overriding the driver’s control.

Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to gain access to a Jeep Grand Cherokee’s central computer that controlled the functions via a loophole in the vehicle’s internet-controlled radio head unit.

An October 2014 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that this type of attack through a vehicle’s cellular data connection was one of 11 types of potential attacks hackers could use on modern vehicles.

The auto industry alliance’s ISAC is expected to be operational by the end of the year, with many other industries having launched such centres since they first appeared during the Clinton administration in 1998.

Every major automaker will participate in the auto industry’s ISAC, with suppliers and telecommunications companies expected to join in the near future.

The auto industry’s ISAC is expected to have a dedicated staff with analysts to diagnose and respond to hacking threats as well as distribute information to its members.

The staff will also be able to share information about vulnerabilities and attacks which have been given by ISAC members.

Chair of the National Council of ISAC’s, Denise Anderson, said that it was the right time for the auto industry to form its ISAC.

“Is it dire right now? I wouldn’t say so, but now is form the ISAC so the infrastructure and trust is there when they need an ISAC,” she said.

“You don’t want to be caught unprepared, heath care is being heavily targeted right now, but in the past they weren’t.”

Before the implementation of the auto industry’s ISAC, The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been following up with automakers after receiving responses to cybersecurity questions sent to US automakers.