Improving smart car cyber security

car_phone_security_forensic_crime_squareIn recent years, an increasing number of new cars have offered the facility for drivers and passengers to connect or pair their mobile phones and other personal devices with the integrated communications system (In-Vehicle Infotainment or IVI) of the vehicle.

Offering different levels of sophistication ranging from systems with integrated satellite navigation (satnav), Bluetooth pairing with mobile devices, Wi-Fi access points for internet services or facilitating SMS text messages, and more recently email services. The IVI system has become more mainstreams and widely used by people, drivers and passengers who can now easily use their devices hands-free whilst travelling, ensuring compliance with road traffic legislation.

With the advent of this new technology which enables an individual to easily bring their 'digital life' into their vehicle, the technology also leaves the user’s sensitive data vulnerable to being openly exploited to potential criminal activity.  

As well as the more common misuse of personal such data as credit card information, personal contact data and identity theft, there has been a worrying rise in criminals malevolently interfering with vehicle systems including seat belt alarm alerts and door security.

Gareth Davies, Senior Lecturer in Digital Forensics at the University of South Wales works on the identification, preservation, retrieval and investigation of information from various digital devices such as mobile telephones, computers and system networks

Part of Gareth’s research focuses on the pairing technology to identify ways contribute to the safety of the technology, reduce smart car cyber risks and improve Law Enforcement.

In fact, his research of recovered data has proved useful in the development of digital intelligence and evidence gathering information to be potentially used and support criminal investigations.


  • Reduced smart car cyber risks and contribute to a safer use of IVI 
  • Improving law enforcement

  • Contribute to help car users to remove safely their personal devise from a vehicle fitted communications system

Gareth Davies is a Senior Lecturer (Digital Forensics) and Researcher in the Information Security Research Group at the University of South Wales. Gareth Davies dedicates his time to improve ways to extract and use digital information from a wide range of systems and devices and communicate. His research particularly focuses on the forensic data analysis of physical data storage technologies, in particular advanced data recovery from malfunctioning hardware such as hard disk drives and memory chip-based systems.

Over the past 5 years, Gareth has built a name for himself as a consultant and investigator on incident response, forensic and evidential recovery cases.  He has worked for a wide range of clients including Hi-tech crime units, the National Crime Agency, the Ministry of Defence, Government and large commercial organisations.

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science

The Faculty is a large multidisciplinary Faculty with strong research capacities across the subject range, and a significant number of research centres and units. It is home for three complementary schools: the School of Computing and Mathematics, the School of Engineering and the School of School of Applied Sciences.

The Faculty is host to over 120 full-time academic staff and a community of more than 150 research students. Over 80% of our research submitted in the last government research assessment exercise was judged to be of an international standard, with 5% of the Faculty's submission being recognised as world-leading. The Faculty has a proud tradition of collaboration with the commercial sector through projects supporting technology transfer and applied research work.

It has nurtured excellent industrial links, working with Fujitsu, IBM, British Telecom, Orange, Welsh Government, Network Rail, Ordnance Survey and ESRI.

The Faculty receives national recognition for its work in information security, mobile applications and services, and power and automotive systems engineering.