Japan companies seeking to shield cars from hacking

Responding to the growing threat of hackers compromising automotive computer systems, Japanese companies are scrambling to develop more robust security measures.

Interest in safety technology grew after researchers revealed last July that several models from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could be hijacked over the Internet, prompting the company to recall 1.4 million vehicles. The incident highlighted potential safety risks from hacking.

Panasonic has developed a device to monitor signals sent between electronic control units inside a car via an internal communications network based on the widely used Controller Access Network protocol. Unauthorized signals are detected and canceled out. The company envisions a scenario in which a hacker uploads malware to a car by connecting a cable to a terminal used for inspection of onboard systems. It aims to commercialize the device by around 2020.