As technology creeps its way into our everyday lives, criminals have devised new ways to commit their acts: it’s called cyber terrorism, and it’s so serious that the U.S. military has even created a Cyber Command.
Experts now warn of a new way of cyber-attacks with an unlikely target: cars and trucks. As they become increasingly laden with high-tech features such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, they are at the same time becoming more vulnerable to electronic attacks.
Thieves can track, break into and start vehicles by using their own high-tech gear against themselves, while corporate espionage is made easier by hacking into a car phone-made conversation.
Ryan Permeh, a security architect at Intel’s McAfee division, told The Detroit News: “I can definitely imagine organized crime or potentially even nation states leveraging weaknesses in these functions to cause different kinds of havoc."
With up to 70 functions controlled by computers, modern cars are vulnerable to various attacks – at least in theory.
Imagine, for example, a group of terrorists gaining control of a car's electronics as they move along the highway and cause their brakes to stop working all at once: a pile-up could ensue, possibly causing casualties.
Carmakers are already aware of this threat: “We are very, very concerned”, said Chrysler spokesperson Vince Muniga. Likewise, Ford’s director of information technology, security and storage, Rich Strader, said that the company “is taking the threat very seriously and is working to ensure that we’ve developed a product that is as resistant to attack as possible.”
The National Academy of Science has been asked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to look into the matter. In its statement, the NHTSA said that it is “aware of the potential for hackers and is working with automakers to better understand what steps can are being taken to address the problem.”
Story References: Detnews