Editorial

Hackers Could Gain Control Of Your Car And Automakers Can't Stop Them

That's the conclusion of a new US Senate report. Lovely.

There’s been so much news regarding cyber attacks over just the past couple of years, and the trend doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Hackers just love to copy one another. Whether it was Sony, Target, banks, or even the government, hackers are always trying to steal data. And today’s cars as well as those of the future are vulnerable. It turns out that one US Senator, Ed Markey (D-MA), clued in to the threat and investigated the matter. His findings are not reassuring.

In his recently issued report, Markey questioned 16 major automakers in regards to the hacking vulnerability of their cars. He also wanted to know what the companies are doing to counteract or detect hacking. Again, the answers aren’t good. Markey’s new report claims that "nearly 100 percent of cars on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions." What’s more, most carmakers are "unaware of or unable to report on past hacking incidents." Even more worryingly, carmakers collect "large amounts of data on driving history…and most do not describe effective means to secure the data."

Yep, that Wi-Fi hotspot in your car, such as GM’s OnStar 4G LTE, can pretty easily be hacked. And just to make you feel even worse, the report also states that, when questioned, "many manufacturers did not seem to understand the questions posed by Senator Markey" regarding their cyber security methods. Really, what’s so hard to understand here? A nine-year-old with common sense knowledge of an iPad can comprehend this. Built-in car Wi-Fi is expanding to more cars of all price ranges and automakers must find a way to properly secure us from cyberattacks and other privacy intrusions. Otherwise, well, Skynet worked out just great, didn’t it?

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