Cybersecurity threats in the auto industry: Tensions in the knowledge environment

David Morris, Gary Madzudzo, Alexeis Garcia-Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The automotive industry is undergoing probably the most far-reaching changes that have ever affected it. The outward manifestations of change are the emergence of the connected vehicle as the norm rather than the province of up-market cars competing on the presence of innovative ICT-driven features, the race to develop fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) and the switch to more environmentally sustainable alternative fuel vehicles. The main enabler of these fundamental developments is technological change. But technology is also a driver of change, this is nowhere more obvious than in the application of ICTs in the transport arena. But technological changes of this magnitude also lead to changes in industry structure, a shift in the basis of competition from features and performance to functionalities, and a growing reliance on knowledge that is new to the traditional industry. This paper addresses one aspect of this milieu of developments, that is the emergence of cybersecurity threats to the modern highly-computerised vehicle. Countering such problems requires a high degree of knowledge sharing in the industry and particularly between car manufacturers and their supply networks. This article collects, synthesises and analyses some primary evidence from cybersecurity experts in the industry. The overall conclusion reached is that, in the view of auto-cybersecurity specialists, the level of knowledge-sharing is inadequate. The article presents a number of potential explanations for this phenomenon; the common feature of these explanations is the existence of significant tensions and lack of trust in the knowledge environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120102
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date24 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Cybersecurity
  • Knowledge-sharing
  • Auto industry
  • Supply networks
  • Trust


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