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Transport sector needs to increase its focus on cyber-security says report

28 November 2016  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Eurotransport

According to a report published by Transport Systems Catapult (TSC), the UK Transport sector needs to increase its focus on cyber-security in the face of rapidly emerging technological developments.

Transport sector needs to increase its focus on cyber-security says report

Credit: TSC

The TSC report highlights that technology, cyber security, mobility, and society are increasingly converging creating a much more complex environment in which to deliver safe, secure, and reliable mobility services and infrastructure.

Intelligent Mobility adds another layer of complexity in transport cyber-security

Furthermore, the TSC notes the emergence of a global “Intelligent Mobility” market, featuring Automated Vehicles, the Internet of Things and increasing use personal data to create services tailored to the individual. It believes this development will add another layer of complexity to an already vulnerable transport network as well as open new cyber-threats.

The TSC highlights the risk of rushing to automate cars, trains and buses, warning that current detection and action times on cyber incidents is measured in days, weeks and even months. However, autonomous vehicle systems will require detection, identification and resolution within seconds to prevent serious safety consequences.

Despite this, the TSC is keen to point out that he UK is well placed to take a lead in resolution and prevention.

“The surface area of potential attacks is set to increase significantly and the transport industry needs to get to grips with this immediately”

Commenting on the report, Andrew Everett, Chief Strategy Officer at the TSC commented: “The Cyber Security issues faced by transport in the future will not simply be an acceleration of the current constant, with more cyber-attacks. The way we move people and goods around the globe is undergoing a radical change. It is being driven by technological advances such as wireless communications, smart devices, Open Data, the Internet of Things and more recently artificial intelligence. The surface area of potential attacks is set to increase significantly and the transport industry needs to get to grips with this immediately.”

“The UK is a world leader in cyber security. These skills can be transferred into the realm of transport and supportive government policies provide an excellent basis with which to proceed. Already there has been research in the automotive, aviation, and marine sectors. However, greater focus and a shared vision amongst transport industry business, academia and technology companies is needed if we are to provide an effective response to emerging threats, he added”  

The report was supported by IBM, The Institute of Engineering Technology (IET), the Intelligent Mobility Partnership (IMPART) and the Digital Catapult.

“It is crucial that all aspects of cyber security are considered carefully”

Anna Bonne, Head of Sector – Transport at the IET said:  “Intelligent mobility has huge potential to transform the way we travel. The UK is leading the world in this area especially through its trials of autonomous vehicles”

“Operation of an autonomous vehicle will be heavily dependent on a lot of software embedded in the vehicle and their ability to communicate to other vehicles and the road infrastructure, so it is crucial that all aspects of cyber security are considered carefully. This report aims to raise awareness of the cyber security challenge in intelligent mobility and ensure that cyber security is considered at the design phase and not as an afterthought.”

The TSC Cyber Security and Intelligent Mobility report can be found here.

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