There’s something to be said about classic cars – they may be gas guzzlers but at least they are safe from hackers! Hackers and motor vehicles? What the heck am I talking about?
I’m talking about the problems with the gradual shift over to wireless car networks. I have written articles in the past on the future of our roadways – connecting every car in a virtual net that, in theory, will safely guide us to our destinations. New cars today come equipped with systems like OnStar that wirelessly connects your vehicle to their network… and by “connects your vehicle” I mean everything… they know where the vehicle is at all times and can even shut the car down – all with a click of a button.
So with all of that in mind… what will happen when someone has the ability to hack into your motor vehicle while you are sitting in the driver’s seat?
Under the hood of today’s fancy new cars are no longer just simple mechanical devices, there are now small but powerful computers in there too. These computer systems are all linked together to control and coordinate vehicle functions. While all of the advances have increased the efficiency of the new vehicles and the safety of its passengers, it has also created quite a few potential risks.
Every car is now federally mandated to have an on-board diagnostics port which provides direct access to all of the vehicle’s internal networks. User-added after-market upgrades create even more potential attack points (audio devices, Bluetooth devices, other wireless devices) since they also attach directly to the vehicle’s internal network and communicate with other networks totally unsecured.
An independent study was done a couple of years ago by a large group of curious people where it was proven that it wasn’t all that difficult to hack into and take over someone’s motor vehicle. Remotely someone can honk the horn, pop the trunk, turn on the windshield wipers and display messages on the dashboard along with activating loud sounds through the stereo system. Someone can lock a single brake and can even disable your entire braking system which would not reengage no matter how hard you stepped on the pedal.
What are your thoughts on smart cars?
What features would you like to see put in?
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