U.S. Senators Ask Automakers For Details on Cyber Security

BOSTON  (Reuters) -

Democratic Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal wrote to 18 of the world’s biggest automakers Wednesday asking about how they test electronic components and communications systems to ensure attackers cannot gain access to onboard networks.

Concerns about auto cyber security have grown since July, when researchers gained remote control of a moving Jeep, prompting Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to recall some 1.4 million vehicles for a software update.

Markey concluded in a February 2015 report that the spread of technology connecting vehicles to networks had outpaced industry and government efforts to protect vehicles from hackers.

Modern cars typically have dozens of small computers that connect to multiple external networks. “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,” the senators’ letter said.

Security experts have said it will take years for carmakers to plug security holes because they have been adding computers to vehicles for two decades, but only recently started seriously looking for security bugs.