Intel joins the fight against car hackers

Car hack crackdown

Do you know if your car's core computer is separate from your stereo system? Or if it can be updated remotely by the manufacturer with the latest anti-virus software?

Those are just some of the top recommendations from Intel's cybersecurity division, which announced a new task force Monday to prevent car hackers from accessing vehicles connected to the internet with services like Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay. A report by Intel's MacAfee detailed recommendations to keep cars safe and prevent costly recalls.

"Cars are like any other computing system, they have points of access and points of weakness," Chris Young, Intel security senior vice president, said Monday on CNBC's "Squawk Alley." "We do believe standards are going to be required here."

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The move by Intel comes amidst a recall of millions of vehicles, after researchers successfully hacked a Jeep Cherokee in July and drove it into a ditch. Policymakers have since called for laws mandating stricter cybersecurity rules for automakers.

Intel predicts a future when, like a "check engine light," manufacturers will communicate with drivers to install updates with an "update software" light.

With auto components coming from multiple manufacturers in the supply chain, secure cars are going to require a collective effort in the industry, the report said. In particular, Young said there need to be plans to stop bad connections into the car, better breach-detection mechanisms, and ways to fix the car quickly after a hack.

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By 2020 the number of connected passenger vehicles in use on the road will be between 150 million and 250 million, research firm Gartner predicted earlier this year. And while being constantly connected to the Internet can make a vehicle venerable to hacking, it's something Intel believes automakers can use to their advantage.

"The ability to update a car gives you the same ability to patch software vulnerabilities," Young said. "We do need to be able to communicate with the vehicles when they are sleeping in the evening."