The No. 1 US automaker appointed for the first time an engineer to be the company’s cybersecurity boss, as the auto business is growing weary of potential threats from “hackers”.
GM appointed manager Jeff Massimilla to the newly created position, an initiative from a plan to review the company’s product design and engineering divisions, according to GM Vice President of Global Product Development Mark Reuss.
“If you look at the technology…as we put semi-autonomous and autonomous systems into vehicles, we have to be able to look at this at a very very critical systems level and do it defect-free for the customer,” Reuss said. “So that’s the competitive advantage we’re trying to really put in place for General Motors.”
Today’s new cars are increasingly relying on the tiny silicon pieces to command everything from engines and brakes to navigation, air conditioning and windshield wipers. Safety experts have increased their warnings that malicious hackers might soon try to use vulnerabilities to take over the cars and even harm drivers.
“The long-term trend is that the auto manufacturers will have to make security part of the hardware and software architecture,” comments Egil Juliussen, an analyst with IHS Automotive.
The automotive business is focusing more and more on the cybersecurity threats, as automakers, tech companies and legislators mull the creation of autonomous vehicles and cars that can communicate with each other and the surroundings.