Europe seeks a few good geeks for hacking cars and homes

EU body wants to pen test smarter devices

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) responsible for researching computing threats to the continent has widened its remit to include checking out car and smart building hacking.

ENISA has decided on its 2016 work schedule and, as well as its continuing job looking for security holes and best practice in mainstream IT, the group has identified smart cars, smart airports, hospitals, health technology, and the security of the Internet of Things as areas for concern.

"The Management Board adopted a challenging work programme for 2016, given the limited resources of the Agency and the rapidly evolving cyber landscape," said ENISA's executive director, Udo Helmbrecht.

"Member States recognise the importance of key initiatives by ENISA. The Agency is in the unique position to support the digital single market initiative by providing the solutions and knowledge for investment and deployment of electronic services in the EU internal market, supporting the economic benefits of Europe from the cyber market creating value from effective security."

More than a few of the presentations at this year's DEFCON and Black Hat security conferences focused on car hacking, which is this year's sexy topic for many. After gaping security holes were found in some Chrysler and General Motors models and the Tesla Model S, regulators have got interested in the possibilities.

The new ENISA focus means its researchers are going to be looking into the software setup of smarter cars, buildings, and devices. They won't just be looking for flaws, but also trying to formulate the policies that the EU can standardize around for the future.

There are some, particularly those in the US, who would see this as unnecessary government intrusion. But, as we've seen with cars, computers, and most forms of technology, sometimes an impartial outside view can head problems off at the pass. ®

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