Exclusive: Cars sold in Europe are already passing the EUROCYBCAR Test

Finally, users will know if a car is cybersecure or not. The EUROCYBCAR test laboratory, located in Vitoria-Gasteiz, has already tested the first models in order to know if they comply the minimum level of cybersecurity: if they protect privacy of the people travelling on board, -their personal data- and what it is even more important, their lifes.

Imágenes de varios vehículos haciendo cola para acceder a un laboratorio

The automotive sector will remember the year 2019 because, for the first time, it is already possible to know in an official and proven way if a vehicule is cybersecure. Something very important that affects the safety of people traveling in a car, because we must bear in mind that the cars that circulate on our roads are, according to Azucena Hernández -CEO of EUROCYBCAR-: “Big computers on wheels”:  they have bluetooth, USB ports, Wifi, remote control to open and close the doors, APPs that you download on your smartphone in order to activate the central locking remotely, sound the horn, connect climatization… And “the fact that an outsider can access to all these devices very easily- and so reach the control- has become a problem that we must tackle as soon as possible”, adds Hernández.

By the way, stand out that EUROCYBCAR is under the cover of Basque Cybersecurity Centre-BCSC- one of the European reference centers in terms of cybersecurity, directed by Javier Diéguez.

Euro NCAP, Green NCAP… and finally: EUROCYBCAR

As long as we know if a car is safe in case of a crash, thanks to EuroNCAP, or ecologic, thanks to GreeNCAP, it is already possible to know if a car is cybersafe, thanks to EUROCYBCAR-recommended by INCIBE -National Cybersecurity Institute- in its “Catalogue of companies and solutions of cybersecurity”-. In fact, as well as those two European Organisms do, EUROCYBCAR will publish the test results so that the consumers can know and compare the level of cibersecurity of cars.

Azucena Hernández has not detailed the brands and models analysed that have already passed the test, due to confidential reasons: that information will be made public in the coming months. However, she clarifies that “the cars that are candidates to pass the test are all those on sale in Europe, whatever the brand”.

What is the EUROCYBCAR test?

This test has a double goal: on the one hand, check that the car protects your privacy in a properly way and the passengers on board-; and above all, if it also protects your own life. How? Finding out if it is easy for someone to physically or remotely access the systems of a car and alter its operation.

In the EUROCYBCAR test, three kind of test are carried out: physical access test, remote access test and official APPs test that the car manufacturers offers to remotely control their cars and the driver downloads in his smartphone. All these tests are carried out by a certified auditors team, consisting of hackers, car testers and experts in legal issues.

Imagen de Azucena Hernández durante la presentación de EUROCYBCAR en 12ENISE, de INCIBE.
Image of Azucena Hernández, CEO of EUROCYBCAR, during the presentation at the 12ENISE international event of INCIBE, which took place in October 2018.

Once the vehicule has been submitted to the EUROCYBCAR protocol, it is granted a qualification with a punctuation from one to five. The higher it will mean that the analyzed car has a higher level of protection; therefore, “it will be the guarantee that you are facing a model that protects the data the car stores about you”  in case, for example, you connect a smartphone. A good grade in the test will be also similar to a good minimum implementation measures to avoid someone can take remote control of some elements such as driving ways, brakes, engine… what could cause important accidents on you, the passengers on board and road users.

And “it is not necessary for a cybercriminal to access the car on a complex way: it is enough for a person to connect a USB with a virus in the ports of the vehicle … so that the car ‘becomes infected’ and that ends up affecting the operation of its control systems, causing, even, that the vehicle suddenly stops while is underway”, highlighted the CEO.

What cars must pass the EUROCYBCAR test?

And if you wonder which cars are candidates to pass the test, they are “all those who have a minimum of technology on board… what means, practically all of them”. Bluetooh, GPS navigator, emergency call -which is mandatory in newly approved cars, from April 2018-, remote control key, airbag or any application that allows controlling data and functions of the vehicule from your smartphone are examples of this technologies.

By the way, another interesting characteristic of the EUROCYBCAR test is that it will be completly adaptable to the continuous technological evolution of the vehicules. In other words, the more systems that new generation vehicules add up, the more posible vulnerabilities may exist…and, therefore, more points to examine will be included in the tests carried out by EUROCYBCAR.

Institutions, police bodies, companies with vehicule fleets…they are also interested in the EUROCYBCAR test

In addition to collaborating with car manufacturers and, therefore, providing very valuable information to the user for the purchase of a vehicle, EUROCYBCAR confirms that there are various institutions, as well as state forces and security forces that have shown interest in analyzing the cybersecurity of your vehicle fleets. In fact, some have already started the procedures for their cars to be submitted to the EUROCYBCAR test.

He estudiado Periodismo para aprender cada día algo nuevo y Humanidades para pensar por mí mismo. Después de ponerme tras los micrófonos de COPE, estoy dispuesto a pasar página en el periodismo del motor. Desde bien pequeñito, los coches han estado en el centro de mis intereses y (según cuentan mis padres) ya con 3 años dejaba alucinada a la gente porque sabía reconocer la marca y el modelo de los coches que veía. La curiosidad es algo fundamental para un periodista, y ¡cómo no iba a sentir curiosidad por los coches del futuro y las tecnologías que los harán posibles!


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