The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to devise standard safety guidelines for automobile electronics systems, and industry guidelines were presented to the administration last year by the Transportation Department's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. The center's experts told NHTSA that strong federal leadership is a necessity for creating sector-specific guidelines, and they recommended that the agency "get involved in the rule-making process early."
NHTSA may be considering regulations according to its 2013 budget request, which includes $10 million to study cyberrisks. The proposed plan dovetails with a National Academy of Sciences study's recommendations for NHTSA to become more cyberproficient. "The kinds of things you worry about is either that your car is leaking information that you wish to be private, or that an adversary can control features of your car," says University of California, San Diego professor Stefan Savage.
Former NHTSA administrator John Maddox suggests that given the continuous evolution of hacking, vehicle manufacturers should develop a voluntary regime of standard cybersecurity safeguards. "The industry would be more knowledgeable and more nimble than government can be in this area," he says.
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