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Developments in ‘intelligent mobility’ to bring increased cybersecurity threat

The emergence of ‘intelligent mobility’ will open up new cyber threats ‘into an already vulnerable transport network’.


The TSC report says the cyber security threat is increasingly becoming cyber- physical, as vehicles, infrastructure, and control systems become increasingly connected

So says the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) as it urges the UK transport sector to increase its focus on cyber-security in a new report.

In the report, the TSC cites numerous trends in the realms of technology, cyber security, mobility, and society, which it says are all converging to make it a much more complex environment in which to deliver safe, secure, and reliable mobility services and infrastructure.

In particular, the report finds that global ‘Intelligent Mobility’ covering automated and connected vehicles and increasing use of personal data to create services tailored to the individual “will rapidly add another layer of complexity into an already vulnerable transport network as well as open new cyber-threats”.

Published as the BBC announces that transport systems in San Francisco have been hacked, the report identifies five key themes that define the changing nature of the cyber threat:

  1. Potential attacks on transport systems will continue to be possible – from anywhere and at any time.
  2. Motivations for intentional cyber attacks are still likely to be for financial gain.
  3. The cyber crime business model is likely to be more refined in coming years.
  4. Cyber criminals are predicted to continue to be among the first adaptors of new technologies.
  5. The insider threat will have more opportunity to cause damage, whether intentional or not.

It goes on to explain that potential applications of technological developments in cyber security for the mobility sector include advanced encryption techniques, advanced threat detection and high security wireless communications. Respectively, this could mean mobility services using cloud-based analytics, detection and protection against network attacks and consumer wireless in vehicles.

The authors add that autonomous systems will also require detection, identification and resolution within seconds to prevent potentially serious safety breaches. However, any safety intervention needs to be balanced with user experience. For instance, it is unlikely that travellers will tolerate a stop-start journey because the vehicle’s system detects safety breaches.

The report also acknowledges current work on common strategies and coordinating actions but says that to meet the intelligent mobility cyber security proposition, “more work needs to be undertaken to take this coordination to the next level of cross-mobility coordination. This is a task not just for security professionals, but all of mobility working collaboratively.”

The complete report is available here.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.