At an Automotive Press Association Luncheon in Detroit, a panel of four experts stated that automakers must stop hackers. Vehicles are becoming increasingly more connected. It is therefore vital for all parties to collaborate. They must become more informed on the risks of connectivity.
Car hacking has so far been relatively limited and controlled. More widespread and consequential hacks could become more common in the future if automakers and consumers are not prepared.
The danger is that connected cars can provide hackers with a large amount of personal data available to exploit. You have credit card information in your car. Your driver’s licence information is there. Also probably your social security number and emergency contact numbers.
Last year researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek hacked into a Jeep Cherokee. The result of their effort was a hacking technique. The security industry calls it a zero-day exploit. Jeep Cherokees can be targeted and enable the attacker to use wireless control via the Internet. In this manner thousands of vehicles can be targeted. Automakers must stop hackers as their code is an automaker’s nightmare.
Software lets hackers send commands through the Jeep’s entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes and transmission. This is all performed from a laptop that may be miles away in another area of the country.
Miller and Valasek (ex Twitter employees) have joined Uber, the $50 billion ride-sharing service’s Advanced Technologies Center. This is a research lab opened by the company in Pittsburgh.
An information sharing and analysis centre is a non-profit organisation. It provides a central resource for gathering information on cyber threats to critical infrastructures. It supplies two-way sharing of information between the public and private sector. This enables insurance companies, amongst others, to assess information pertaining to cyber threats.
Hackers will always adapt to new technology and new security measures. It is therefore important for automakers, insurance companies and consumers to stay vigilant.
Consumers should also be aware of the dangers of connecting their smartphones to their vehicles. If you do not need to do it, then do not do so.