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Technology

Team Japan to defend connected cars against cyberattacks

Automakers and suppliers to strengthen defenses by pooling knowledge

Honda's Dream Drive onboard system: Japan's auto industry will work together to protect cars from hacking.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- With self-driving vehicles and connected cars facing the heightened risk of cyberattacks, the Japanese automotive industry will launch a group next year to pool manufacturers' expertise and bolster defenses, Nikkei has learned.

J-Auto-ISAC, now under the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, will be spun off into an independent organization in April.

The association will start out with 21 members, including such automakers as Toyota Motor and Honda Motor. Seven parts suppliers, including Denso and Panasonic, will be part of the alliance. More participants will be recruited down the road.

Although industrywide responses are deemed necessary to enhance cybersecurity, large manufacturers usually choose to come up with their own action plans. Efforts to unify the response have stumbled as companies balk at sharing cyberattack histories and system vulnerabilities with competitors.

In addition to swapping information, members will also carry out joint surveys and drills. Rules ensuring anonymity will aim to allay concerns over sharing data.

The U.S. already has a cybersecurity organization for connected cars, which includes parts suppliers. Europe is preparing to establish a similar association.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled well over a million vehicles in July 2015 after security researchers remotely seized control of a Jeep Cherokee as it sped down the highway, ultimately cutting the brakes and forcing it into a ditch. Toyota acknowledged security vulnerabilities in "certain Lexus and Toyota vehicles" this past March.

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