Is Your Car Safe From Hackers?

Every day that you drive your car to and from work, school, or just to the store, do you ever have a feeling that at any time someone could remotely shut off your brakes? New research suggests that it is plausible.

The average car has upwards of 70 computers inside of it which control everything from acceleration, breaks, door locks, and airbags. According to Rich Mogull,  “Anything with a computer chip in it is vulnerable, history keeps showing us”. So just how vulnerable is your car? Two hackers by the names of Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to gain access to a vehicle through the same entryways as a mechanic would use to run diagnostics. They controlled everything that was run via a computer within the car. Are you scared yet? Well there isn’t much reason to be, it took these two professionals a solid 9 months to crack the cars computer systems open.

Another group of hackers demonstrated that they were able to access a cars computers through wireless communication routes such as the Bluetooth. Does this fact give probable cause for alarm? Not really, this would also take quite a lot of time to do as of now. The real question is, how much longer until hackers learn how to get into car computer systems a lot more efficiently?

Resources:

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=256&sid=3440212&pid=0&page=1

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7 thoughts on “Is Your Car Safe From Hackers?

  1. This is definitely frightening, considering how cars are essential to a majority of Americans and increasingly to other modernized nations. As with many other types of virtual issues, hackers (both “good” and :”bad” ones) are definitely becoming more sophisticated and keeping up with technology. One must also question what corporations and governments are capable of (that we are unaware of). Almost certainly ethics comes to play. While some would argue that it could be used to cause hindrance on virtually anyone that speaks out harshly against the status quo. Others could make the point that, this breakthrough can be used towards the general well-being of the public and kept safe from evil-seekers.

    This just shows how ever-so ignorant most of us are in regards to many technologies surrounding us. It. As technology continues to progress and make our lives more comfortable, we complicate it further and become more vulnerable. It is like a never-ending cycle really. Of course it is near impossible to be all educated on the technicalities, that is why it is so important for those devoted in these areas to really do “the good work” and confront potential issues.

  2. Since the release of mobile applications that have the ability to control certain functions of newer-model automobiles, I have always been skeptical as to how secure these so-called conveniences really are. Although the control available through hacking an app of this sort are fewer than physically hacking the computers contained within an automobile, this article even furthers my worries that with constantly advancing technology, hackers will gain unheard-of access to one of the most essential elements of our daily lives. Along with that, it brings forth an uncertainty that makes me question whether or not I will choose to invest in a newer model when it comes time to buy my first new car.

  3. Based on that logic, I am curious whether the companies manufacturing the vehicles are understanding what they are up against. Sure, they can make patches here and there, but what if a hacker has the potential to ruin the sales of a certain model? Or worse, what if he finds a means to hack, but the manufacturer cannot come up with a patch to fix the issue? Smart phones, apps, Bluetooth, radio, etc. have all made it possible for hackers to access our main necessities in life.

    I only hope that one day, they will not find the way to take control of mass transportation.

  4. Unfortunately, everything goes in the way of “smarter” cars, and even though it might seem a good thing, I can see two main issues with it.

    First, like we discussed in class and in the comments, smarter cars mean they can be hacked. While getting your computer hacked might destroy your files, getting your car hacked might get you killed. To me, the convenience of a smart car seems just not enough to justify the risks. Besides, it’s likely that car manufacturers won’t do a good job of securing the cars.

    The other point is decreased freedom. I can see politicians pushing for smarter cars to decrease the number of deaths on the road. As soon as the technology is ready, they will push for automatic cars that you can’t even control anymore, cars that will fine you automatically when you are speeding for example. Basically, technology will be used (as it is used today) to reduce freedom.

  5. It sounds very strange for a car to be able to go out of control and into the wrong hands. It may be possible but I think it is very unlikely that such an occurrence can happen.

    I am not sure that any hacker would try to attempt something lofty like that because even though a car may have these computers, it must be very difficult for one to hack its circuits. It may be possible but yet it would be a very rare circumstance.

  6. Personally, I wouldn’t be worried about vehicle hacking just yet, either through the OBD-II (mechanic port) or through exploiting wireless/bluetooth.

    My main concern would be with keys and remote fobs. As we know there are millions of car out there from various manufacturers. There’s a finite combination of keys that can be made or remote fobs programmed for all the cars in the world. If you google, I’m sure you will find stories of people unlocking other cars with their keys and remote fobs. Having programmed a vehicle key, I have seen where the cut of the key differs but will still start the vehicle just fine.

  7. I used to believe that the possibility of people hacking into a car only existed in movies, this article contradicts that belief and it signifies the advancement of technology throughout the years. But as axlits stated, we should not be worried about hackers hacking our car today. It took these professionals a long time to accomplish that goal; I cannot imagine how long it would take someone with low hacking experience to do the same.

    Although there are many computers present in today’s cars and probably more will be present in the future, I believe that it is still too complex to hack in order to control most of the car. I do not think that a lot of hackers are focused in hacking automobiles, unless a high-profile person is involved. That is why I think that it will take a longer time than usual for hackers to figure out how to hack cars; when they do figure it out, a patch to fix the issue will be sent out and it will then take a certain amount of time for hackers to break it.

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