Just as we are entering a cash less economy, the next thing would be driver less transportation. This means to get from point A to Point B one will be increasingly dependent on automation.

However, the darker side to autonomous vehicles and the artificial intelligence that powers them is causing concern among many people.

Even modern cars that are driven by human beings can be hacked and certain accidents in recent times have puzzled automobile security experts and point to hacking of computers or electronic devices that power them.

A 2012 video,  Dr. Kathleen Fisher who works for DARPA highlights quite clearly that all modern cars could be vulnerable to hacking and there is a dire need to find solutions.

Any device that is connected to the Internet is at risk from hacking or manipulation. According to Munich Re, the worlds second biggest reinsurer, there is a high 55% risk of cyber security for driver less cars. Other conclusions include the following:

42% risk for Auto Theft by anonymous hacking and overtaking of vehicle data systems.

36% risk of smart road infrastructure due to cyber attack.

US Businesses spend more than $2 Billion a year for cyber insurance policies.

Now let us look at modern cars…

They have as many as 100 microcomputers and attackers can take over vehicle networks and driver data in the following ways:

  • A car’s wireless communication function
  • A mobile device connected to the car via USB, Bluetooth of WiFi
  • A third party device connected through a vehicle diagnostic port
  • Hackers can access the vehicle’s controller network or data stored on the vehicle either directly or remotely

According to DARPA, hackers can

  • Make vehicles accelerate and turn
  • Kill the brakes

Automobile companies did not directly address the problem leading to a class action suit in March 2015 against Ford, General Motors, and Toyota for deliberately hiding dangers related a cars computer systems.

Later Fiat Chrysler announced a recall of 1.4 million vehicles in July 2015 in the US after researchers announced that they can turn off one of their vehicles engines as it was driven remotely from a distance of 10 miles. The vehicles on-board computer systems had to be updated.

So how can you be sure your car cannot be hacked. Here are some tips:

Purchase a car from manufacturer who reward “White Hat” hackers to look for vulnerabilities.

Consider a less fancy car that does not have the latest wizard whereas purchasing a high end luxury vehicles means they have more computers and electronic gadgets with potential vulnerabilities.

For connectivity buy a car with the latest Apple CarPlay or Android Auto systems as they are more secure than automotive entertainment systems.

Ask about your cars wireless systems to understand which systems can be remotely operated.

Mare sure your vehicle software is up to date but also verify the update authenticity by visiting the manufacturers website and checking for any new updates.

Use a steering wheel lock to prevent hackers from driving away with your hacked car.

Invest in an on-board diagnostic (OBD) system lock that technicians can use to diagnose repairs via repairs to all of the cars computer systems that control the car.

Familiarize with your cars OBD port and how it looks in original form and if something has been plugged in or damaged. The port is typically located under the dash on the driver’s side.

Use the central door lock button instead of the key fob to prevent hackers from scanning your push-button locking system.

Protect your keyless fob to prevent hackers from using an amplifier that fools the car from thinking the fob is nearby, thus allowing access to the car.  Place the keyless fob in the refrigerator or a tin foil lined box when it is not in use. Go to reputable dealers and repair shops to ensure your car computer systems are not manipulated.

Source: maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

About The Author

"Founded in July, 2016, WhackHack.com is a cyber security blog that covers important security issues affecting common users, industry and governments. It aims to create awareness among its readers about malware, hacking, encryption, identity theft, privacy, etc and also offer solutions to protect themselves from such attacks"

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