From Dismantling a ’68 Corvette to Securing Connected Cars: Booz Allen’s Alexandra Heckler Shares Her Story

Oct 16, 2019 8:50 AM ET
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When Alexandra Heckler was six years old, she and her father tore apart his ’68 Corvette and put it back together three times in a row.  “He was teaching me to think differently about solving a problem,” she said.

Today Heckler is a senior associate with Booz Allen’s commercial transportation practice, working with some of the world’s biggest auto manufacturers to figure out what a good vehicle cybersecurity program looks like.

Pioneering protection for connected cars

Among the first to work in Booz Allen’s D.C. Innovation Center, Heckler has been part of a team considering the safety implications of a vehicle being hacked.

Booz Allen helped stand up the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC) in 2015 and continues to host the group’s operations related to cyber vulnerabilities. The mission: Proactively protecting the connected cars of tomorrow.

“We’re building vehicle cyber security programs that will save lives,” she said.

Lifelong lessons in collaboration

Information-sharing is critical to the Auto-ISAC effort. But getting industry competitors to open up wasn’t always easy. “The first time that we got all the automakers into the room together, it was crickets,” Heckler said. 

But she had lifelong lessons in teamwork to draw upon. “Working with my dad taught me how to collaborate.”

Today, OEM’s representing more than 99 percent of light-duty vehicles in North America share data with the Auto-ISAC. “And no longer is any meeting silent,” Heckler said.

Learn more about Alexandra Heckler and cybersecurity at Booz Allen