ARE NEWER VEHICLES AT RISK OF BEING HACKED?
FBI warns the public that “Car Hacking is a real risk”
Vehicular Cybersabotage: we've seen it in the theaters during an action packed film, and in recent years we've seen law enforcement groups use remote control functionality to stop vehicles and aprehend car thieves. Earlier this year, the FBI warned americans nationwide that the ability to hack and control vehicles is a real fear and something to be considered.
“Modern motor vehicles often include new connected vehicle technologies that aim to provide benefits such as added safety features, improved fuel economy, and greater overall convenience,” the FBI stated in their public service announcement back in March, “Aftermarket devices are also providing consumers with new features to monitor the status of their vehicles. However, with this increased connectivity, it is important that consumers and manufacturers maintain awareness of potential cyber security threats.”
Just last year, after several people were able to hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and stall the vehicle on the road, a recall of 1.4 million vehicles was issued and necessary software updates and security patches were distributed to people with affected vehicles. It was a startling display of just how dangerous automotive cybersabotage can be. From turning on wiper blades and changing radio stations, to dangerous maneuvers like disabling brakes, rapid acceleration, and turning the steering wheel are all commands that could be introduced into the car's computer with scary results.
In 2011, researchers at the University of California at San Diego and the University of Washington found ways into a Chevy Impala via the OnStar program, Bluetooth accessibility, and even the CD Player. Internet-connected insurance company dongles plugged into vehicles’ dashboards could create the same remote hacking vulnerabilities.
In recent months, vehicle manufactures like Jeep and Chrysler have moved forward with new security approaches and software updates to prevent dashboard hacking. Most infilitration has to occur with a physical device being connected to the vehicle dashboard - which is why the FBI recommends you be very careful with whom you choose to share physical access of your vehicle with.
The FBI has requested that if you suspect your vehicle of being hacked to contact them immediately. Also contact your vehicle manufacturer and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.
What can you do to protect yourself from cybersabotage? Always keep your sotware up to date and setup email notification for any recalls that could need a manual security update to your car's computer. Don't make unauthorized changes to your software, and avoid installing insecure gadgets to your network. It's impossible to prevent all attacks, especially as new information and technology is released.