Is your car's software hacker proof?
Back in 2015, it was proven that new cars were susceptible to hacking even if those hackers were thousands of miles away. That little experiment involving a Jeep Cherokee definitely caught the entire industry’s attention. According to Reuters, however, Hyundai still went ahead and released a software update to its mobile app that turns out to have had a bug that could’ve made it possible for hackers to remotely unlock and start the vehicles. This software update was introduced on December 8, 2016 for users of Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car software app.
However, it wasn’t until last week that a private cyber security firm discovered the glitch. In other words, a large number of Hyundai owners were exposed to potentially hacking for three months’ time. Hyundai claims it’s already fixed the bug, but the US Department of Homeland Security still decided to issue an advisory about the software vulnerability. "No known public exploits specifically target these vulnerabilities," the advisory states. "High skill level is needed to exploit." That’s not particularly reassuring, considering there’s an untold number of highly skilled hackers out there. This time, fortunately, “the issue did not have a direct impact on vehicle safety,” said a Hyundai spokesman.
“Hyundai is not aware of any customers being impacted by this potential vulnerability.” When the 2015 Jeep Cherokee’s hacking vulnerabilities were announced, Fiat Chrysler quickly issued a recall for 1.4 million units. No automaker can allow any of its models to be at risk of hackers gaining remote control while the vehicle is traveling at high speeds, as was the case of the Jeep. The Hyundai Blue Link bug is said to be not as severe as the one in the Jeep, mainly because any hacker would have to be very close to the vehicle’s owner in order to gain access. If they did, hackers could have potentially unlocked and started the cars. Close call this time, but the next time this happens, for any automaker, the results could potentially be quite severe.