Motor insurance policies should be updated to include cyber protection - Zurich

Connected car

Connected cars will be vulnerable to hackers for a decade, according to leading tech security expert Eugene Kaspersky.

Founder of Kaspersky Lab, the former Soviet intelligence officer told the Financial Times that today’s connected cars are “more safe but less secure”, because of their networked safety sensors, telematics, GPS trackers, internet connections and phone-syncing technology.

While hackers find “more and more methods to attack private cars,” it will take years for governments and carmakers to implement countermeasures, he said.

“For a long period of time the cars will be vulnerable,” he said, adding that it could take up to a decade.

Research group Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 250 million vehicles will be directly connected to the internet.

Put another way, reinsurance group Swiss Re estimates that by 2020 more than two-thirds of cars sold worldwide will have some form of connectivity.

Last year, there were two reported instances of hackers remotely hijacking control of connected cars, driving one into a ditch.

Zurich head of risk engineering Mervyn Rea agreed that cars today are more vulnerable to hacking than many people realise.

It’s not a problem limited to driverless cars in the future. Cars on the road today that have the ability and connectivity to receive data are vulnerable,” he told StrategicRISK.

The connectivity of vehicles raises new questions over liability in the event of a crash.

“Is it the owner of the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle, the manufacturer, the third party that provides the IT infrastructure or the connectivity?” Rea said.

“Motor insurers need to have a serious think about providing some form of cyber protection and cyber cover in their policies should there be a hack that disables a car or contributes to a crash.

“I think that will happen sooner than you think … we don’t have to wait until we have driverless cars before we see the advent of cyber insurance in a motor policy.”