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UK must prepare for increased transport cyber-security threat

The UK transport sector needs to increase its focus on cyber-security in the face of rapidly emerging technological developments, according to a new report by the Transport Systems Catapult. The report backed by IBM, IET, IMPART and the Digital Catapult, cites numerous trends in the realms of technology, cyber security, mobility, and society are all converging to make a more complex environment to deliver safe, secure, and reliable mobility services and infrastructure.

The IET Transport Sector is pleased to have been able to support the Transport Systems Catapult in the production of this recently published report. The report highlights the emergence of a global “Intelligent Mobility” market, featuring Autonomous Vehicles, the Internet of Things and increasing use personal data to create services tailored to the individual. This will rapidly add another layer of complexity into and already vulnerable transport network and open new cyber-threats. Cyber security report  

The report highlights is that all areas of the transport sector are looking into automation, including cars, trains and buses. It warns that current detection and action times on cyber incidents is measured in days, weeks and even months, autonomous systems however will require detection, identification and resolution within seconds to prevent serious safety consequences.

Andrew Everett, Chief Strategy Officer at the Transport Systems Catapult 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.”

Whilst the threats will increase the UK is well placed to take a lead in resolving these issues. Everett continued: “Luckily, 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.”

Anna Bonne, Sector Head for 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.”

You can read the full report here.