The more technology is incorporated in vehicles, the easier it is for hackers to take control of various features.
That’s why the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and FBI issued a bulletin warning about the increasing vulnerability of motor vehicles to hacking.
According to the bulletin, the NHTSA and FBI are “warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats,” given the technologies that can be found in modern cars.
Many incidents have already happened regarding this newfound vulnerability of cars that authorities are trying to cope with.
Back in January 2015, BMW AG said that 2.2 million vehicles could have been opened remotely by hackers due to a security flaw they later fixed. This was the first action of its kind in the auto industry,
Then, in July 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV had to recall some 1.4 million U.S. vehicles after a magazine reported some hacking concerns regarding the software.
Also last year, General Motors released a security update for their smartphone app that allowed hackers to take control of some important functions of the plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt – you know, like unlocking the doors and starting the engine.
Even though not all hacking incidents may pose a risk to the passengers’ safety – in terms of someone else than the driver taking control of a vehicle – the FBI bulletin emphasized the need for carmakers and consumers alike to “take appropriate steps to minimize risk.”
After the incidents in 2017, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters that automakers must be on top of the hacking issues and fix the possible vulnerabilities as soon as possible.
A report in the Wired magazine prompted the Fiat Chrysler to issue a recall, as hackers were able to remotely take over some functions of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee – again, the important ones like transmission, steering, and brakes.
However, the recalls seemed to have been effective, as the NHTSA reported that there “has never been a real-world example of a hacker taking control of a vehicle.”
Another part of the solution was the Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a collaboration between two major U.S. auto trade associations, the Association of Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
To stay on their best game, the groups agreed to share potential vulnerabilities in vehicles and cyber-threat information.
The FBI also warned against criminals who could profit from online vehicle software updates by sending fake “e-mail messages to vehicle owners who are looking to obtain legitimate software updates.”
Image Source: E and T