Scary Truth About Automotive Cyber-AttacksAugust 30, 2019
Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization, recently released a report outlining the threat of automotive cyber-attacks on motor vehicles utilizing the internet. According to the organization, the use of the internet in vehicle technology puts drivers at risk of hackers that might take control of the vehicle. Similarly, vehicles that use the internet are vulnerable to large-scale data breaches. The report is an opportunity for lawmakers to find solutions for cyber vulnerabilities in motor vehicles.
What are Automotive Cyber-Attacks?
Automotive cyber-attacks involve hackers acquiring data through a vehicle’s driver assistance technology. In the attack, the hacker might gain control of the vehicle’s systems, putting drivers at risk of a motor vehicle accident. Similarly, hackers might be able to access one’s personal data, leading to a breach. Technology is leading more vehicles to be manufactured with internet connections, including driver assistance technologies. These technologies are installed to keep drivers safe, however, it also puts drivers in jeopardy of a data breach or an act of terrorism.
According to the report released by Consumer Watchdog, driver assistance technologies connected to the internet put vehicles at risk of vulnerabilities that allow hackers to control the vehicle remotely. Experts are concerned that this might lead to catastrophic incidents, including terrorism. In order to combat the possibility of an automotive cyber-attack, the report suggests installing 50-cent kill switches on vehicles that utilize the internet. In the event of an attack, the kill switch would disconnect the vehicle from the internet. This would dismantle any hacking that might occur.
The amount of vehicles utilizing internet technology is growing rapidly. According to the Consumer Watchdog report, approximately two-thirds of new vehicles in the U.S. will have internet connections by 2022. There are millions of connected vehicles using the same software, leading to concerns of a mass attack. Consumer Watchdog highlights this issue, claiming that thousands of fatalities could occur.
Cybersecurity Tips for Drivers
Technology will only continue to develop; therefore, it is important that drivers are informed on how to keep their vehicle secure from cyber-attacks. Tips to increase cybersecurity includes:
- Learning how to properly pair a phone to a vehicle
- Frequently updating software on vehicles and phones
- Deleting phone data from vehicles, especially rental vehicles
These are only a few tips to avoid cyber-attacks. However, individuals are encouraged to support organizations that research cybersecurity.
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