In this day and age of amazing technological advances, the desire for personal privacy remains at an all-time high. Business Review describes the growing financial costs of data breaches for companies lacking internal security operation centers, as increasing to 1.41 million USD (1.31 million EUR) for large companies. As a result, Maryville University describes the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals to combat the impact of cybercrime as doubling between 2013 and 2019. With the rise of products like IoT devices and the advent of self-driving cars, maintaining a tight grip on the reins of security remains more important than ever.

Cybersecurity for Fleet Owners

Cybersecurity is something that all companies and fleet owners should make their top priority. TransportTopics draws attention to the vulnerability of private fleet owners, because of the fact that anything on an electronic system can be targeted by hackers. From the breakdown of back-office financial and dispatch business systems to digital attacks on vehicles themselves, no area of your company is truly safe. For instance, “as over-the-air programming of vehicle electronic control modules (ECMs) becomes widespread, entire fleets could be shut down with a wireless flash update, for example, if effective security protections are not in place.” This malware can be easily spread from one vehicle to another and go undetected, affecting your entire fleet.

As a result, implementing effective cybersecurity measures to protect your fleet is crucial to ensure your business’s future success.

Legal Cybersecurity Acts

Recently, Computer World reported on a new IoT law in the UK that aims to ensure that proper security measures are built into IoT products from the very beginning of the design stage. This is to prevent hackers from taking advantage of any vulnerabilities the systems may have, such as factory-set default passwords and unauthorized webcam hacking. Currently, there is a labeling system being put into place that notes whether an IoT device is safe or not, giving consumers peace of mind. As a result, this legislation also has significant implications on the connected transport industry across Europe, as well as the future of passenger transport.

Along with advancements in IoT products come strides towards more efficient network connectivity. The European Commission emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity for the 5G network, aiming to put into place “a robust and objective framework of security measures, which will ensure an adequate level of cybersecurity of 5G networks across the EU.” Currently, several frameworks are already in place to protect transmissions across electronic communications networks, such as the Cybersecurity Act and the European Electronic Communications Code.

Regarding these measures, properly managing the personal data that you collect remains paramount. This involves keeping information confidential and protecting it against unauthorized use, processing it in a lawful manner, and deleting any data collected according to the requests of users. Operating within the dictates of the law ensures your company’s integrity while maintaining the trust and safety of your customers.

Recent developments in this area have also led to a rise in passenger transport technologies, such as the MDVR trend that we covered before. It enables the real-time screening of drivers and passengers, helping to mitigate risks, “either to prevent incidents or to attribute the correct post-accident blame.” By supplementing GPS technology, it allows companies to keep an eye on driver behavior, as well as any traffic jams or accidents along the journey, all from a remote web interface. However, keeping this information private and safe from hackers is vital. For instance, if the data from a dashcam video is stolen, this contains sensitive information such as vehicle registration numbers and people’s faces. In order to prevent leaks like this from happening, a telematics platform can securely transfer this data and protect it from vulnerabilities.

Despite the positive benefits of MDVR technology, privacy concerns remain paramount when it comes to using these devices. In the US for instance, Vice reported how a third party was able to easily access data from a dashcam company called BlackVue, such as users’ GPS locations from Hong Kong, China, Russia, the UK, Germany, and elsewhere. The social media feature that enables others to “vicariously experience the excitement and pleasure of driving all over the world,” exposed the dangers of having internet and GPS in a transport system. The biggest issue is when users are unaware that they’re being watched, or that this data is even publicly accessible in the first place. However, such issues could be waived if you’re utilizing a hi-tech telematics platform, allowing high-quality real-time tracking and alerts.

Similarly, CNN reports how the German brand Mercedes-Benz was caught using location sensors to find and repossess vehicles in the UK when drivers failed to pay up, leading to further privacy concerns. According to a spokeswoman for Mercedes, “This repossession process is used in a few exceptional cases and only as a last resort when customers default or breach their finance agreement and repeatedly fail requests to return their vehicle,” she said. “We also want to emphasize that this does not mean constant tracking.” However, this has set off a debate on the privacy of motorists and the growth of surveillance. As a result, once a GPS tracker or a mobile app is utilized to keep tabs on people such as employees and vehicle drivers the latter need to consent to and be fully aware of it.

In the future, Forbes predicts how the global race for AI dominance shows no signs of slowing down, with the US and China at the forefront. Interestingly, France’s strategy is to “target four specific areas of AI-related to health, transportation (such as driverless cars), the environment, and defense/security,” while Germany inevitably maintains its leading status in the field of autonomous vehicle development. Along with these exciting innovations comes the need for increased legislation regarding cybersecurity, not only across Europe but all across the world.

Article contributed by Joanne Davis