You’ll probably be shocked to learn that last year, thousands of cars with keyless entry technology were stolen in London, says a report from wired.com.
But fact is, the more connected a vehicle is to the cyber world, the more hackable the vehicle is—and the hack could be to steal the vehicle or hurt the owner.
Rule: Anything that’s connected, especially via WiFi can be hacked.
The article notes that recently, a Jeep Cherokee was hacked with a smartphone via its Internet-connected navigation and entertainment system; the hackers remotely took control of its steering and brakes while it was on a road.
But don’t panic yet; it was an experiment conducted by good-guy hackers to demonstrate the vulnerability of a connected vehicle. The flaw was corrected after Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles.
But what about getting into keyless-entry vehicles? A device is sold online for $31 that can clone the “key.” The wired.com article notes that BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Saab and Land Rover are among the models at risk.
The thief plugs this device into the vehicle’s diagnostic port. The information collected is then used to reprogram a blank fob that can start the vehicle—after the thief smashes a window to get in.
To deal with this, car makers are trying to create a key whose signal is harder to copy. Security experts point out that vehicles need additional layers of protection such as encrypted communication between them and the Internet.
The Jeep mentioned above was hacked via its navigation and entertainment system, forced to go into a ditch. But another thing a hacker could do is spoof the GPS signals that emanate from satellites, and transmit altered directions to the driver, making that person go way off course. Imagine someone doing this as revenge, perhaps on his nasty boss from work.
Or they can sit back and laugh while they create traffic jams. But it won’t just be fun and games for all hackers. Imagine what terrorists or psychopaths could do. And it’s all very possible. University of Texas researchers actually steered a super yacht off course, unknown to its captain.
Hacking into cars will be even more feasible as cars become closer to being driverless, because this feature will be dependent upon being connected.
Pay close attention to any manufacturer recalls or updates that may involve a patch to correct any vulnerabilities.