Just when you Thought Cars were Safer…

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We’ve all heard the wonderful benefits that will come with the connected car. The promise of onboard diagnostics, anytime/anywhere communications, and ubiquitous connectivity is very real.

But here’s the thing. Research has shown that if you hack into a car’s computer network, you could potentially control steering, braking or acceleration. Remote braking has already been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of San Diego.

A recent Telematics Update article did a nice job of looking at the possibilities of hacking the connected car based on the recent research report “A Survey of Remote Automotive Attack Surfaces”. It had a few things to say, such as the fact that 30% of drivers in the US, UK and Australia say they’re concerned about system and vehicle security breaches, as well as privacy of their location and driving data.

It also noted three pieces that make up what a remote, safety-critical attack could be:

  • the remote wireless part (i.e. what can happen when communicating to the outside world);
  • how the car is architected (what can be attacked inside the car); and,
  • the cyber physical attributes (the computers that read information off computer networks and perform an action such as adaptive cruise control).

There is a lot more information relating to possible threat scenarios and solutions. But I will leave that up to you to read.

Admittedly, this is a worst-case scenario. And even the researchers say the threats are not imminent. And while I’m not trying to be an alarmist in the face of such an awesome technological advancement, I definitely think it’s interesting food for thought…

Do you think hackers pose a real threat to the connected car?

By the Cel-Fi Team

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