Hackers want your cars: wireless systems in vehicles can let hackers take control

10 Feb 2015

A US senator has warned that vulnerabilities exist in cars’ wireless systems that can allow hackers to take control of a vehicle’s electronics and gather personal information on drivers.

Senator Ed Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of the US Senate, has called for new standards to plug security and privacy gaps in the wirelesss systems in cars and trucks.

He claims that 16 major car manufacturers have deployed Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in their vehicles but have not addressed the possibilities of hacker infiltration.

Markey’s report showed how hackers can get into the controls of some popular vehicles, causing them to suddenly accelerate, turn, kill the brakes, activate the horn, control the headlights, and modify the speedometer and gas gauge readings.

Real threat of cyber attacks on vehicles

Additional concerns came from the rise of navigation and other features that record and send location or driving history information.

Markey called on car manufacturers are doing to address these issues and protect drivers.

“Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyber-attacks or privacy invasions.

“Even as we are more connected than ever in our cars and trucks, our technology systems and data security remain largely unprotected,” said Senator Markey.

“We need to work with the industry and cyber-security experts to establish clear rules of the road to ensure the safety and privacy of 21st-century American drivers.”

Car image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years