the Billington Automotive CyberSecurity Summit
The second Billington Automotive CyberSecurity Summit is running today. The two morning keynotes were delivered by Michael Chertoff (CEO of the Chertoff Group and former Secretary of Homeland Security) and GM President Daniel Ammann. They expressed optimism about the benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles, and argued that cybersecurity designed in from the beginning would be essential to securing those benefits, as would effective cooperation across the sector.
Chertoff said we shouldn't overlook the implications of connectivity for data privacy. The data being requested of cars (and drivers) by insurers, for example, could amount to intrusive surveillance. One need look no farther than Facebook to see the possibilities of a serious consumer backlash. He also warned of the potential for terrorist exploitation of weaknesses in connected vehicles. "It's not too much of a leap to consider that some smart terrorist will decide it's easier to hack a vehicle and control it as a weapon." He closed with remarks about regulation, which will be inevitable. When it comes, he argued, it should be based on outcome and effects, and should not involve micromanagement. The SAFETY Act, designed to encourage investment in competent and capable counter-terror technologies, in his view represents a good legislative model. It might be worth extending this law to the auto industry.
GM's direction for the future may be summed up as electrification, connectivity, and autonomy. Ammann framed automotive cybersecurity as an issue that's converged with safety. It's also in his view a sector-wide issue. "Failure by any one company will be regarded by the public as failure by all." Thus cybersecurity must be a matter for cooperation across the industry. In this he reiterated a long-standing GM theme: the company says it won't treat cybersecurity as an area in which it seeks competitive advantage. Autonomous vehicles are poised to bring huge positive benefits in terms of availability, affordability, and safety. Cybersecurity incidents could halt progress toward those benefits, which means that customers are best served by industry-wide security collaboration.
We'll have more coverage of the Billington Automotive CyberSecurity Summit is upcoming issues.