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Intel enlists 'top security talent' to eradicate smart-car cyberattacks

Can Intel's review board help automakers improve future vehicle defense against cyberattacks?

Intel's board may be able to keep automakers from suffering the same embarrassment as Fiat Chrysler's Jeep debacle in the future. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Intel has announced the launch of the Automotive Security Review Board (ASRB) to mitigate future cybersecurity risks to vehicles and drivers.

Announced on Sunday, the semiconductor firm said the ASRB will encompass "top security talent" worldwide with a particular bent toward physical system security.

Members of the board will perform ongoing security tests and audits to form best practice recommendations and design suggestions to benefit automakers, which will then help keep drivers and passengers safe in modern vehicles.

Cars are no longer simply a physical device to get from A to B. Cameras, sensors, Internet-connected infotainment dashboards and computerized maintenance and control systems are becoming part-and-parcel of modern vehicles. While these smart features can improve the driving experience and keep the condition of a vehicle in better shape, the moment you network a car, you create a pathway for potential attacks.In order to keep drivers safe from such attacks -- which could result in the remote control of cars or surveillance -- Intel is bringing together experts in the cybersecurity field to make recommendations specifically aimed at protecting connected cars.

In recent news, Fiat Chrysler hit the spotlight after severe vulnerabilities were discovered within SUVs offered by the automaker. The models in question made use of the Uconnect connected car system, which was found to be vulnerable to remote attacks leading to engine control, placing drivers in danger.

Over 1.4 million vehicles have been recalled in order to patch the flaw.

Intel will provide the board with the company's advanced development platforms on which to conduct research.

Alongside the launch of ASRB, Intel has published the first version of its automotive cybersecurity best practices, which will be updated as the board's research continues.

"Unlike vehicle safety, security is as much an after-sale activity as a production one. When an automobile is on the road, vehicle software is at risk from vulnerabilities, intentional and accidental owner actions, and malicious attacks. Threat analysis and risk assessment continues throughout the life of the car as old vulnerabilities are patched and new ones come to light, so the risk of attack can even increase with time," the report states.

Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager of Intel security commented:

"We can, and must, raise the bar against cyber-attacks in automobiles. With the help of the ASRB, Intel can establish security best practices and encourage that cyber-security is an essential ingredient in the design of every connected car. Few things are more personal than our safety while on the road, making the ASRB the right idea at the right time."

This story originally posted as "Intel launches automotive security board to tackle connected car security risks" on ZDNet.