Senator queries carmakers on cyberhacking threat

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., sent letters to 20 car manufacturers requesting information on their security measures for in-vehicle advanced technologies and potential threats from hackers, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). The letters cited one of a handful of studies performed on the subject that shows the potential to hack into vehicle computer systems, even Bluetooth systems, and suddenly apply the brakes, jerk the steering wheel and other oddities out of the driver’s control.

According to Markey, “As vehicles become more integrated with wireless technology, there are more avenues through which a hacker could introduce malicious code, and more avenues through which a driver’s basic right to privacy could be compromised. These threats demonstrate the need for robust vehicle security policies to ensure the safety and privacy of our nation’s drivers.”

Markey is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee that has jurisdiction over vehicle safety issues, like security for in-vehicle technology. The committee held a hearing earlier in 2013 on vehicle technologies that also included several questions from senators on security issues. In his letter, he requests the auto makers address more than 18 questions focusing on potential cyber threats.

The car companies receiving letters were: Volvo North America, Volkswagen Group of America, Toyota North American Region, Tesla, Subaru Motors America, Porsche Cars of North America, Nissan North America, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mazda North American Operations, Automobili Lamborghini America, Jaguar Landrover LLC, Hyundai Motors North America, American Honda Motor Co. Inc., General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group LLC, BMW North America, Audi of America, and Aston Martin The Americas.

Markey has requested manufacturers respond by Jan. 3, 2014. To read the letters sent to each manufacturer, visit here.