Cybersecurity: Loose Lips…

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Are your fleet vehicles giving away information you’d rather keep to yourself?

It was a sweet ride in our 1974 Ford Ranch Wagon. Five kids somewhere in the back with the Christmas gifts ‘hidden’ amongst us for the long drive to either the Miramichi or Cape Breton.

Skip ahead 20 years. Sure enough, I had at least five of my kids in the back rows of a minivan from Ottawa or Quebec heading east. Of course, they were all strapped in and hating every minute. We frequently drove 1,000 km a day with no breaks.

Skip ahead another 20 years and times have changed. Safety is paramount, telematics can track almost everything and now telematics can tell everyone else what we want them to know, and sometimes what we do not want them to know.

With all of the onboard systems available, fleet managers need to take a serious look at cybersecurity. So, once again, I applaud what NAFA has done with their practical approach to involve fleet professionals in identifying practical solutions to cybersecurity. NAFA has released a White Paper to identify and address the issues associated with cybersecurity–life is not as simple as it once was.

The White Paper identifies that:

“Many vehicles have wireless capability ranging from keyless entry, ignition control, and tire pressure monitoring to diagnostic, navigation, and entertainment systems. The interaction between vehicle systems, wireless communications, and diagnostic ports provide portals through which adversaries may be able to remotely attack the vehicle controls and systems.”

While increased use of telematics is both desirable and inevitable, there are concerns that must be addressed. The White Paper identifies five areas of concern and makes a number of recommendations in each area.


Connected cars are now fair game for hackers so fleet managers need to think of ways to protect their assets from malicious or criminal attacks.


Sensitive information, such as geolocation and driver behaviour information merits protection but needs to be accessible to the fleet manager. Regulatory bodies need to be made aware of the different standards of privacy for personal vehicles and for fleets.

Access to the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) Port

Fleet maintenance facilities need access  to the electronic control module of vehicles for both diagnostics and repair. NAFA will continue to work with OEMs to ensure this valuable data is always available to fleets.

Ownership and collection of data

The connected vehicle generates and transmits large amounts of data some of which is collected by OEMs to monitor driving history and vehicle performance. Vehicle owners should know what data OEMs can access as they are the rightful owners of that data.


The use of telematics will expand exponentially over the next several years and regulations and policies need to be forward looking.

More information on the topic is available at nafa.org.

Categories : Fleet


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