MUNICH (dpa-AFX) - Cars and the automotive industry are increasingly becoming the target of hacker attacks, according to a study by industry expert Stefan Bratzel. The charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is one of the particularly vulnerable areas: It is "extremely complex due to the various market participants and offers many points of attack for cyber criminals," according to the study published on Tuesday by the CAM Institute in Bergisch Gladbach. Suppliers are another gateway: "The complex supply chain is considered a major weak point and offers central points of attack that are highly likely to be exploited and often cause a great deal of damage."

The risk is growing with increasing e-mobility, digitalization and networking of vehicles as well as production and logistics. Comprehensive cyber security strategies are urgently needed, but are also very costly. "However, companies differ considerably in terms of the quality of design and implementation," said Bratzel. For many suppliers and service providers, they are still at a low level. Customer demands for connected cars and connected services have created enormous competitive pressure, which has sometimes pushed security aspects into the background. With increasing networking and automation of the supply chain, the attack surface is growing.

According to the study conducted by the CAM Institute on behalf of Californian IT group Cisco, the quantity and quality of attacks has increased significantly in recent years. For example, Toyota had to briefly suspend operations at its Japanese factories in 2022 because a supplier of plastic parts and electronic components was hit by a suspected cyber attack. Cyber criminals stole data from General Motors, Continental and Moovit. "In March 2023, a cyber attack on Tesla was reported in which hackers were able to remotely dial into a vehicle and perform various functions. These included activating the horn, opening the trunk, switching on the dipped headlights and manipulating the infotainment system."/rol/DP/jha