Consumers are increasingly worried about cyber attack vulnerabilities with connected and automated vehicles, according to a new survey by HSB, part of Munich Re.

Approximately 37 percent of consumers responding to the survey said they were either somewhat or very concerned about both cybersecurity and safety of vehicles with internet connections. Similarly, 35percent expressed worry that a virus, hacking or other kind of cyber attack could damage or destroy a vehicle’s data, software or operating systems.

Underscoring the problem, one in 10 consumers reported a hacking incident or other kind of cyber attack affected their vehicle, up 3percent from a similar HSB poll the previous year.

“Our cars are more connected than ever,” Timothy Zeilman, vice president for HSB, said in prepared remarks. “It’s hard for consumers to keep up with rapidly evolving vehicle technology and they wonder if their privacy and personal information is protected.”

Other findings from the survey:

●      11 percent of respondents said they drive an electric vehicle, and 51 percent of that number either don’t know or are not sure what personal information is stored in their vehicle’s entertainment system.

●      46 percent said they were most worried that a hacker might communicate with them over their audio system, either to coerce them or demand ransom.

●      25 percent said they were most worried their vehicle would be immobilized by a cyber attack. About 23 percent expressed concern about having their auto systems compromised by a cyber breach, and 14 percent said they were concerned a cyber attack could lock them out of their vehicles.

●      53 percent of respondents said they had installed Bluetooth in their vehicles; 42 percent had navigation systems, and just under40 percent had vehicle safety sensors.

●      36 percent of consumers said they owned smartphone apps that connected to their vehicles; 24 percent said they had Wi-Fi or mobile hotspots providing internet service on the road.

 Opinion: what does this mean for vehicle fleets?

 “When using a vehicle’s in-built apps it can track things like your location, entertainment preferences and even financial information, "says Gary Taneja from ShieldsUp. “Each of these connections are an increased opportunity for hackers to find a vulnerability and steal data via remote access - for fleet operators that's the scenario everyone wants to avoid.”

There is definitely an onus on the vehicle manufacturers and software suppliers to rigorously test their vehicles and services for cyberthreats, but recent exploits like the Microsoft Exchange zero-days shows that isn't enough to prevent an incident. If the survey trend continues and consumers don't trust the tech connected vehicles use, then it could affect customer demand in the future. It may become a barrier to business improvements that seek to streamline fleet operations in a competitive market.  

“Fleet operators may not be considered critical national infrastructure in the traditional sense, but with just-in-time supply chains, any disruption is obvious,” said Taneja. He continued, “we saw that in the Netherlands earlier this year and the organisations I speak to are adopting defensive cyber security strategies to ensure they are able to respond when an incident happens.”

It always pays to start with a cyber readiness assessment that will measure the existing risks to your fleet and critically highlight the vulnerabilities and remediation steps to be secure. ShieldsUp can provide an assessment which takes only 15 minutes to complete, and if the worst does happen, you can benefit from a concierge service that steers you through best practice incident response.

Link here to schedule a call with us or email info@shieldsup.ioto get in touch.

HSB commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the cyber/auto survey in December 2020.More than 1,500 U.S. adults took part in the survey, which covered their attitudes, experiences and concerns about cyber safety. Based on a confidence level of 95 percent, the margin for error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. That means all other things being equal, the identical survey would have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

Source: HSB

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