For the automotive industry, ransomware poses a pernicious, ongoing threat. In 2017, the WannaCry attack hit Renault, in France, and at least one of its international alliance partners. The attacks forced Renault facilities across Europe to temporarily close. Earlier this summer, ransomware brought a Japanese car manufacturer’s operations to a standstill. This past weekend, one of the trendiest electric car manufacturers to date fought off a ransomware attack.
Why are hackers interested in the automotive industry?
Hackers want access to the vast quantities of data that exist within enterprise computer networks. Some are conducting corporate espionage, while others aim to sell the data on the dark web.
For automakers trying to prevent ransomware attacks, the writing is on the wall:
- Follow best practices issued within the International Standardization Organization (ISO)/Society of Automotive Engineers’ 21434 standard.
- Deploy the latest cyber security technologies
- Ensure that an incident response plan is in place
- Back up files with a trusted third-party group
Could ransomware impact your electric vehicle?
Yes. In theory, electric cars could be built with cyber-infected electronic parts, and make their way into the mass markets. In such cases, hackers could render parts or all of a vehicle non-functional, and then demand ransom payments from consumers. “Pay up or your breaks won’t work any longer.”
Other types of cyber attacks could also potentially affect electric vehicles. Consider how a cyber attack on an EV charging station could potentially damage a vehicle. In addition, mobile apps connected to cars present challenges. Cyber security researchers are exploring other possible scenarios too. For insurers, electric cars present opportunities to develop new types of insurance plans, as they vastly increase liabilities.