Buyers' advice, high tech, Motoring News, vehicle security, vehicle technology

Cyber protection: What about your local garage?

  • UK research highlights car cyber attacks
  • Regulation needed for automakers, techies
  • Survey shows huge ignorance on cyber theft

LONDON, England – The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has welcomed government guidelines to reduce the hacking risk of internet-connected cars but urges focus on the technicians that work on the vehicles, too.

The same type of protection is needed in South Africa, too…

Since the announcement (Aug 2017) by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Transport, Lord Callanan, that new guidelines for automakers selling internet-connected cars are being put in place against cyber hackers.

The IMI has now called for a focus on people who work on such vehicles.


Research (see figures below)  data from the IMI suggested many drivers and passengers were unaware of the security risks of connected vehicles with about half of those surveyed were unaware of the danger which comes from anybody with stolen wifi technology.

The IMI says it is vital to know that the technicians working on their vehicle(s) are properly qualified and adhere to a professional standard. “This is probably,” the IMI said, “why 86% of people surveyed by the IMI believed vehicle technicians should be qualified and regulated to carry out repairs.

“Yet the (British) government has not addressed this issue in its latest guidelines.”


In a study commissioned by the IMI in 2016 Professor Jim Saker of Loughborough University said: “Vehicle technicians have access to all a cars operating systems and data communication portals. Under the current regulatory arrangements there is no registration of technicians, no security checks, no competence tests.”

IMI chief executive Steve Nash added: “Computer diagnostics, vehicle programming and software updates are common in the motor industry. However, with the sector unregulated and with no national standards it’s not always possible to track people who may have access to our personal information.

“We’re working hard to get the government to address this area and create (protection) systems during manufacture. Vehicle owners must have confidence that they are not at risk.”

IMI research conducted May 2017.  Respondents: 907.
61% use a mobile phone for online banking or shopping.
43% have satnav and phone in their vehicle.
50% aren’t aware a car is open to cyber-attack, much like a home computer.
86% believed vehicle technicians should be qualified and regulated.
51% feared their car being accessed and controlled by a hacker.
47% concerned their car could be stolen remotely using wi-fi tech.

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