Public Release: 

Driver privacy can be compromised in usage-based insurance systems

Study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

BEER-SHEVA, Israel...April 7, 2017 - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have demonstrated that is possible to compromise a driver's private information stored in the cloud for Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) programs based on only part of the data collected.

UBI programs determine a consumer or fleet insurance premium rate based on several driving parameters that are collected, including total driving time, cornering and average speed. As part of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) connected-device functionality in vehicles, driver data is gradually being stored in the cloud, rather than onboard a vehicle's computer.

Using an algorithm, the researchers were able to demonstrate that it is possible to garner additional private data beyond what is supplied to UBI companies without the use of GPS information. The research was conducted by BGU student Vladimir Kaplun Peled as part of his master's thesis, along with his advisor, Prof. Michael Segal, of the BGU Department of Communication Systems Engineering.

According to Prof. Segal, "Based on our research, an attacker only needs one part of the information provided to a UBI company to discover a driver's whereabouts, home, work, or who they met with. As connected vehicle networks become more widely used to collect driver data and provide information or entertainment, the opportunity for someone to uncover private information will also increase."

The research was supported by the IBM Cyber Security Center of Excellence at BGU. IBM (NYSE: IBM) and BGU established a Center of Excellence for Security and Protection of Infrastructure and Assets at the University in 2014. This joint venture has developed a curriculum that will help train the next generation of professionals, as well as perform leading scientific research on emerging areas, such as big data and cloud computing.

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About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.

AABGU, headquartered in Manhattan, has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information visit https://aabgu.org/.

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