DETROIT – General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra on Friday called on the world’s auto industry to collaborate to develop cybersecurity standards to not only protect the physical security of vehicle owners, but also the personal data they increasingly transmit through the connected vehicle.

“Cybersecurity protects physical safety, privacy and data,” Barra said at the Billington Global Automotive Cybersecurity Summit at Cobo Center. “GM does not view cybersecurity as an area for business advantage.”

Barra said customers are best served by sharing best practices from all industries, including the U.S. defense industry. So far, she said, there has not been a major cyber attack against connected vehicles. But she warned hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they attack computer networks and smart devices, both of which are heavily used in today’s cars and trucks.

“At GM, we have made cybersecurity a top priority,” Barra said. “We have a senior executive run our cybersecurity team. He also is vice chairman of Auto-ISAC.”

On Thursday, the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC), an auto industry cybersecurity consortium, released a report that said connected vehicles must be designed and manufactured with security in mind that offers ways in which the auto industry can protect itself from hackers. The report was researched over five months by more than 50 auto cybersecurity experts.

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GM, taking a page from Silicon Valley, has launched a coordinated disclosure program to identify vulnerabilities in its connected vehicle systems, Barra said. GM is committed to expanding and evolving its cybersecurity posture through collaboration with everyone at the conference so that GM and the world’s auto industry can share and solve a myriad of cyber concerns, she said.

Certainly the Cybersecurity Summit Friday was a who’s who of the world’s auto industry with top security executives from major auto companies in attendance or participating in the panel discussions. Conference organizer Tom Billington said nearly 500 people had registered to attend, about double earlier estimates. Also registered were 60 journalists. Live coverage was even provided by CSPAN and CNBC.

“This underscores the seriousness of the mission,” Billington said. “We’re sharing best practices to enhance cybersecurity.”

Barra predicted the auto industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50 because of connected vehicles and smart devices. More than 50 billion smart devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. Much of this data will be transmitted over the vehicle network where it can be exposed to cyber attack.

A good example of how technology is changing vehicles can be found in the second-generation Chevy Volt that will go into production this fall, Barra said. The new Volt will run some 100 million lines of code, up from 10 million lines when the vehicle was initially launched. As digital vehicles evolve further, 200 million lines of code could be the new norm, she said.

Car and ride sharing services also are exploding, adding to the digital traffic directed at the connected vehicle. Some 15 million people use both today; more than 50 million are expected to do so by 2020. Ride sharing services like Uber connect directly between the vehicle driver and the passenger through smart phones.

Autonomous and driverless vehicles technology also is driving change in the auto industry as well, Barra said. The up side is all of these changes will allow GM and the auto industry to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible for consumers. The down side is the more connected the vehicle, the more threats are posed for cyber attack.

Cybersecurity is the most serious challenge we face,” Barra said. “We need to make it an industry priority.  All of us need to work to achieve what none of us can on our own.”

Mike Brennan is Editor and Publisher of MITechNews.Com. If you have a story idea, email him at