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GM Taking Steps to Prevent Cyber Threats

Release Date:2019-12-09

Data breaches are a pretty common occurrence, unfortunately. From Facebook and Capital One to Orbitz and even the restaurant chain Panera Bread, hackers can strike anywhere. With various levels of autonomous cars hitting the pavement, the stakes of a data breach are much higher.

  • Autonomous vehicles rely on interconnected data, which can be hacked.

  • When information is compromised, it could affect the safety of the system.

  • Collaboration across industries is essential to share best practices to thwart data breaches.

Car remote on hand, pressing button to unlock a car

A data breach can come from anywhere, including a car’s electronic key. (Photo: Getty Images)

Cybersecurity everywhere

Today, the auto industry has an end-to-end connected ecosystem that includes everything from the back office, manufacturing, telecom carriers, and the actual car platform. So GM’s cybersecurity organization has to play a hand in every aspect of the company’s business.

In an interview with Deloitte, General Motors’ (GM) vice president of global cybersecurity, Jeff Massimilla, discusses how his company is going about mitigating cyber risk. “The ramifications of a single cyber event could be catastrophic. So, recognizing the cyber risk and deploying the right mindset and resources are paramount,” he said. “It’s almost like having a permanent, post-breach mentality.”

Sharing is caring

Historically, the automotive industry has held proprietary information close to the vest. But, in the “cyber everywhere” environment, sharing cybersecurity strategies and techniques is paramount. And that includes collaboration with other industries, such as aerospace and defense, consumer electronics and medical devices.

In the automotive industry, GM has two collaboration initiatives to foster sharing information. Within the industry, there is the US Auto Information Sharing and Analysis Center (AUTO-ISAC), whose purpose is to provide a safe and trusted environment to create best practices for the industry. The other piece is to work closely with partner suppliers to protect the supply chain. However, getting a “collaboration mentality” across the ecosystem can be a challenge.

Regulation will certainly help. There is already some in place, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. Massimilla stressed that creating a strong cyber posture across all global markets “cannot be overstated.”


Protecting data from cyber threats is important everywhere in society, but when it comes to future automotive technology it will be essential to customer safety.

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