Scene: At an intersection, four busy roads, all the lights go amber, then green at the same time. From the four directions, vehicles start to move. It is the green light, see? And then the havoc is unimaginable. Trucks ram into buses, people die, there is chaos everywhere. This malfunction of the lights was caused remotely… by malicious hackers. (From the movie Live Free or Die Hard – Bruce Willis).
The same thing could pretty much happen to you, if someone got to the controls of your car while you are driving on the highway. And experts have proved that indeed, there are many vulnerabilities with car computers, and some luxury models of cars do come with even more than 70 computers.
The internet of everything is here! Yes, your car is now connected to the internet and soon, someone will try to access it with ill motive, behind his computer, with an evil grin and a very bad intent. And you know what the worse news is? Car makers are not doing enough to help protect your car from hackers. That is the truth!
From a laptop computer, a hacker can jam your cars brakes on the highway, yes, even when you are driving at 100km/h! He/she can jerk the steering wheel and cause untold havoc, all from their laptop. In Massachusetts, two techies proved that they could wreck a Toyota Prius remotely by seizing control of the vehicle while it was on the road.
All the same, auto technology is more of a blessing than a curse, despite the fact that there are many setbacks. Safety features are now much more improved, the diagnosis and repair can be very accurate with no room for error and the car’s warning systems will alert you when something is wrong. But even with all those benefits and more, we cannot overlook the fact that a mad man somewhere could seize control of your car and cause you untold danger, even death.
Don’t you wish for the good old days when locking your car doors and securing the steering wheel with a club was all the security that you needed? But then you could not enjoy features like lane departure warning, parking assist, anti-lock braking systems and so on. So obviously, the new, more advanced auto features are much better and anyway, chances of a hacker getting to your car are minimal, for now.
Automobile manufacturers have computerized most functions in the car including steering, braking, shifting and acceleration. All these functions can be accessed from the electronic control unit. Unauthorized access has been proved in America, and soon, road terrorism could be a reality if the car manufacturers do not do something about it.
There might not be an immediate cure to take care of the vulnerabilities in your car. However, engineers are working around the clock to come up with foolproof electronic controls. From Ford, Toyota to Volvo, Nissan and others, you can be sure that soon, there will be more security for your car. In any case, as of now, car hackers have a very low chance of getting to your car.