#privacy: Cyber-security value of white hat hackers recognised by automotive industry

cyber-security

Car industry leaders have continued to witness the cyber-security credentials of ethical hackers at the DEF CON security convention in Las Vegas.

The conference saw hackers attempting to break through the cyber-security defences of cars in order to take over driving functionality, Reuters reports.

Carmakers and car suppliers are increasingly seeing the benefits in collaborating with white hat hackers, whose expertise can help organisations to identify cyber weak points.

Visitors at the conference had to escape a car by cracking a code to open the boot, alter stereo volume and speed and operate the door locks through computer software.

Present at the event was Bugcrowd, an IT research recruiter that tackles “bug bounty” programmes at Tesla Inc, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and other car manufacturers.

Senior community manager at Bugcrowd, Sam Houston, said:

“A big part of it is redefining the term ‘hacker’ away from that of a criminal to make automakers understand that we’re here to make their systems more secure.”

DEF CON offers hackers and computer enthusiasts the chance to increase their knowledge around overriding cars’ security systems, a practice that requires heavy resources, lots of preparation and expertise in abundance.

Craig Smith, a security researcher who founded the car hacking village with his business partner, Robert Leale, spoke of the “great challenge” that automotive provides, because “the systems are distinct from other security areas.”

The subject-matter overlap of the event means cyber-security professionals from other firms also attend DEF CON.

Assaf Harel, chief scientist at Israeli firm, Karamba Security, said:

“Carmakers have been discovering new issues with their traditional architectures thanks to white hat hackers, which highlighted security needs for carmakers and suppliers alike.”


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