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EU Regulators Now Mandate Motorcycle Manufacturers To Include Cybersecurity Features | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware | #hacking | #aihp


Every few weeks now, we have a story about the increasing inclusion (some might say intrusion) of technology into motorcycles. Some ADVers like the safety features, and others don’t like relinquishing some level of control to a machine, and they don’t like the added cost. Well, there’s another cost to be added to bikes with these electro-features in the near future: European regulators are about to require motorcycle manufacturers to include cybersecurity features on many of their bikes.

The background

Similar plans for cybersecurity for vehicles have existed for cars for a while. UN Regulation 155 calls for a multi-national cybersecurity standard for vehicles—see more on that here. As vehicles become increasingly interconnected through technology, regulators want to keep hackers locked out, lest we get a re-enactment of that scene from Terminator 3, where the police cars are hacked and chase down John Connor.

What this means for motorcycles

So how will motorcycles be affected? Actually, it’s not even just motorcycles; the proposed regulation changes will affect “motorcycles, scooters and electric bicycles with speed exceeding 25 km/h,” says FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations). But not all those vehicles. It appears that the plan is to only apply these cybersecurity regulations to “all products with digital elements available in the market.” In other words: Your Honda Rebel 500 is basic enough that it probably won’t be affected. Your Honda Gold Wing, though, with adaptive cruise control, or other bikes with smartphone integration and vehicle-to-vehicle tech? It means more hoops for the OEMs to jump through when they’re making them, as they have to ensure some sort of cyber-safety.

The reality is, increased opportunity for hackers to take control of motorcycles will make many buyers wanting cybersecurity measures whether or not they’re demanded by regulators.

Is this a bad thing?

Some riders will be irritated by the possibility of further government intrusion into their moto-life, but all riders will be unhappy to go for a ride and find their bike has been hacked by ransomware, and won’t start. These regulations may reduce the chance of that (although I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility down the road). And make no mistake: Ransomware is coming to the world of transportation.

The knee-jerk of many riders will be to reject tech altogether, but that’s increasingly becoming less and less of a choice, as even beginner bikes have TFT screens that connect to phones. You can look for an old SOHC air-cooled Honda with points ignition, but old-school bikes like that are getting harder and harder to find. The market is pushing us towards increasing tech, even if many riders don’t want it.

For their part, the European industry association of moto manufacturers didn’t complain about the regulators’ plan to require cybersecurity for motorcycles (from FEMA’s write-up, it seems the new rules would be passed in June of 2024). Here’s the reply of Euro industry body ACEM:

We are thrilled to share a landmark achievement for the motorcycle industry. The agreement adopted at UNECE (Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles) recognizes the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in a more digitalized world. This regulatory extension reflects a collaborative effort in the industry, underscoring a shared commitment to rider safety and the ongoing advancement of two-wheeled vehicles. Furthermore, UNECE´s positive step aligns with global regulatory trends while setting a precedent for future advancements in the field, offering same level of cybersecurity protection for cars and motorcycles. This decision represents a testament to our commitment towards increased safety for riders and the progressive evolution of two, three and four-wheeled vehicles included in L-category. As the industry advances in line with digitalisation, our association remains at the forefront, ensuring that every technological stride is matched with appropriate safety and security standards.

So we’ll stay tuned on this one, as it almost certainly will have implications that have not yet even been considered.

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