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Senators Ask Automakers for Anti-Hacking Updates

September 21, 2015


U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) last week sent letters to 19 automakers, requesting updated information about company measures to thwart vehicle cyberattacks and privacy breaches tied to electronic systems.

The letters, dated Sept. 16, were sent to Aston Martin, BMW North America, FCA US (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Ford Motor Co., General Motors, American Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motors North America, Jaguar Land Rover North America, Lamborghini, Mazda North America, Mercedes Benz USA, Mitsubishi, Nissan North America, Porsche, Subaru Motors America, Tesla, Toyota North America, Volkswagen Group of America (with Audi), and Volvo.

Automakers responded to a similar letter in December 2013, but the senators stressed the need for more current information.

“As vehicles become increasingly connected to the Internet and to one another through advanced features and services, we continue to see how these technologies present vulnerabilities that can compromise the safety and privacy of drivers and passengers,” each letter states. “We have specifically learned how third parties can access the electronic controls and data of vehicles from many different entry points, including wireless connections, and we appreciate that many automotive companies have begun to take concrete steps to close these security gaps.”   

Blumenthal and Markey are members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. To view a copy of one of the letters, click here.

In July, Blumenthal and Markey introduced a bill that would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to establish federal standards for securing vehicles and driver personal information against hacking. The bill would also establish a rating system – or “cyber dashboard” – to inform vehicle owners about how well the vehicle protects driver security and privacy beyond those minimum standards. Click here to read the bill. 

The senators set an Oct. 16 deadline for the automaker cybersecurity updates.

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