Two hackers have developed a tool that can hijack a Jeep over the internet. WIRED senior writer Andy Greenberg takes the SUV for a spin on the highway while …
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When you check out his video, keep in mind that this is not one of our autonomous, driverless cars, it is a standard 2014 Jeep. Cars today are a lot more connected to the Internet and are being designed with features such as sending a warning if your tyre pressure is low, the car needs a service, the ability to access infotainment services. Breakdown services are able to remotely unlock cars when customers have left the keys in the car, easy to do and a common call out reason.
As more hacking events take place, more and more people are learning how to do this and it would be very unlikely of some of those people are not criminals or other people with other malicious intent. Fortunately word is now getting out to car manufacturers who are rushing to add all the features that customers are demanding and hopefully they will be employing security experts, perhaps hackers to help design systems that can be secured.
The greater risk IMHO comes in as V2V systems come out, where cars make decisions based on intelligence they get from other cars. I have previously blogged about platooning, where cars drive very close together safely because they are in communication with each other. They accelerate in tandem and brake in tandem. I have no doubt that in the next year we will see a thriller at the movies where autonomous cars are driving and someone hacks into them.
Imagine a platoon of vehicles a yard apart from each other driving on the freeway at 80mph. A hacker then slams the breaks on one or two of them without telling the other cars, or they do that turn manoeuvre that police do to spin out a car safely during a car chase, where they give the side of the car in front a little nudge. It would make great film if a couple of cars in a driverless platoon of autonomous cars were hacked by cyber-criminals doing those sorts of things. But not so if it was done in the real world. Looking at what these hackers are showing, that might not be too difficult.
Hopefully the good guys at these hack events get offered great jobs to stop the bad guys from doing bad jobs!