Unless you’re old, retro, or a hipster driving around in a clunker (or a combination of one or all of the above), your car can be hacked.
If you thought that hacking was something only your computer could fall victim to, think again. Now that companies have started using the latest technology in their cars, hackers are starting to devise methods that can actually hack your car, removing it from your control. So the next time you see a person careening down the road at twice the speed limit, it may just not be his fault (it probably is though).
The tens of computers that are responsible for steering, brake and acceleration are not as smart as you would expect when realizing that they are in charge for the large piece of metal that is hurtling at speeds close to 100 mph. They rarely authenticate the messages they receive and as such, are susceptible to following the orders of any outsider.
To make matters worse, the computer code found in cars is hopelessly outdated, while accessing any one part of the car is likely to allow you to access its other parts as well.
A Reason to Love your Clunker
Of course, some of the older models have little to worry about as they possessed little technology. Hacking them is pretty much impossible. However, modern cars contain over 100 million lines of code; for comparison’s sake, the Apollo 11 space ship which made it to the moon had 145,000 lines of code.
The software being utilized in these cars is poor to say the least. There are few security features, allowing hackers easy access. Security engineers have already shown how a car’s brakes can be hacked by simply connecting a laptop to the dashboard. This was last year; the situation is graver now due to most cars going wireless.
A physical connection will not be required to hack such cars, which is a nightmarish scenario when taking into consideration the number of fatalities caused by automobile accidents that are wholly in control of the driver. (It takes Maximum Overdrive to a whole new level.)
While the idea of your car being hacked has been around for a few years, momentum and attention has picked up, with white hat hackers warning of the threat.
About Those Apps
Meanwhile, downloading apps to the dashboard of your car could lead you to downloading malicious apps as well, spelling doom for your car. Thus, companies responsible for making such apps or products are using their own security features to separate their product from the car’s network system.
Continental has also decided to partner with IBM and Cisco to initiate firewalls that will control any information that flows between the car’s devices. Car manufactures have also started to sit up and take notice as companies like Toyota and Ford have started building firewalls in their cars while Toyota also uses security chips to lessen the chances of hacking.
In the near future, nearly all cars will be internet connected and cars will even be able to send wireless messages to each other; messages that could overtake the basic controls of the cars.
And if computers have taught us anything,where there’s a will- there’s a way.
Are you scared?