Feeds

Ford preps anti-hacking tech for in-car WiFi

Sync My Ride

High performance access to file storage

Ford is developing anti-hacking technology in a bid to make upcoming in-car Wi-Fi systems resistant against drive-by downloads and other forms of computer security attacks.

The next generation of Ford SYNC, a built-in vehicle comms and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft, will come with secure Wi-Fi access and a built-in browser running on top of a Windows CE operating system. The technology is due to debut in the 2011 Ford Edge and 2011 MKX Lincoln later this year and adds extra capabilities to existing SYNC technology, which allows Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and media players to link into in-car systems. The wireless tech has allowed devices to be operated by either voice commands or in-car controls since it was introduced in 2008.

Ford has recognised that wireless systems in cars need to be accompanied by improved security features. Encryption will be used to protect the Wi-Fi network, with firewalls used to segment the vehicle's operational processors from entertainment and information systems. The Wi-Fi network, delivered via a USB-based modem, will use WPA2 encryption by default. Anti-malware protection will also be added to the MyFordTouch driver interface system, Dark Reading reports.

Sukhwinder Wadhwa, manager of the Sync platform and technologies at Ford, said the vehicle maker views security as integral to the delivery of extra service, not something that it bolts on as an afterthought.

Wadhwa told Dark Reading that Ford is yet to come across information security problems affecting its car thus far and wants to try to keep it that way as in-car systems start to resemble home networks. "We are connecting consumer-grade devices [in the vehicle], and we want to make sure out of the chute we are protected from any bad devices out there, like memory sticks or whatever they put [into the vehicle]," he said.

Ford is using its enterprise security teams as well as external consultants as penetration testers to evaluate the security of the upgraded Sync features. The motor manufacturer hopes to make secure Wi-Fi a standard option across its vehicle range within five years. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.