How Computer Controlled Cars Are Hacked

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The so called hybrid cars are vulnerable to hackers. Hackers can easily take control of your car and drive it home for you or in worse cases cause an accident. Yesterday we featured an article where hackers remotely disabled a Jeep SUV, leaving the driver stranded in a ditch.

Automakers are adding more computer controlled systems and wireless connectivity to vehicles making them vulnerable to hackers. Modern cars contain as many as 100 microcomputers that control brakes, locks, steering and engine acceleration. Simple features in a car like maps, entertainment systems and other programs can also be hacked.

Wi-fi networks for GPS navigation and music or video streaming can be exploited easily. Other systems that can be exploited easily is the UCONNECT.

So how can one hack computer controlled cars? When a driver downloads an infected App to his smartphone or uses a wireless connection like Bluetooth to upload an infected file to the vehicle. The vehicle’s entertainment and control systems share the same network giving the virus access to microcomputers controlling the vehicle. If the vehicle is connected by Bluetooth to a network like UCONNECT. The virus lets hackers to use the network and send commands to the vehicle’s controls.

The whole procedure was issued after Markey released a report in February accusing the auto industry of “a clear lack of appropriate security measures to protect drivers against hackers.” What’s clear is that resilient cybersecurity technology is particularly vital as software engineers pack cars with code to handle automated driving systems. Analysts expect fully driverless cars to hit the roadways sometime within the next decade or two.

Computer driven cars I believe at a high risk of being hacked because they will be controlled by Google. The driverless cars are being adopted by a number of auto companies like the General Motors. General Motors and Tesla Motors are introducing driverless cars this year that will allow luxury cars to self-steer in highway lanes.

“There’s all these benefits we’re getting from this technology, but it also is giving control of the vehicle over to computers — and those computers might start being controlled by someone,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

Luxury automakers like Tesla Motors and BMW have adopted ways to curb cybersecurity by creating systems that allow over-the-air software updates. When BMW discovered a flaw that could have theoretically allowed hackers to open vehicle doors using a smart phone, it set a security fix over the air to cars earlier this year.

The over-the-air software updates does not fully provide protection fully because experts believe that they can open other vulnerabilities. “It needs to be easier for them to mass update their vehicles, as opposed to going to a dealer or using a USB stick. Most of the people driving out there won’t bother to update if it’s hard to do,” said Clemens, the Arxan security solutions architect.

Next time you want to buy a car, i would advice you go for the old school manual cars that have no internet connections unless you want the whole community to drive your computer controlled car.

Also read: Totally insane; dangerous Data Jams can be caused by Internet Connected Cars

 

 

 

What is your opinion on the topic?
Erick Vateta
Tech Editor at Kachwanya.com
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Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.
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