Covered Topics

Please see the list of the topics I've covered. It's located near the bottom of the page. Thanks for stopping in!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our Cars: Yet Another Avenue of Cyber Attack?

For many years, I have been a fan of older cars. In my opinion the simpler their design, the better. I've owned both late model and cars that were built in the 1960s. While older vehicles are indeed more maintenance intensive, they are generally easier and less expensive to repair than anything built in the past 15 years or so. Today, I just read an article that bolsters my appreciation and respect for older vehicles.

The article I refer to, dated January 3, 2012 in the LA Times Online, points out another possible avenue of cyber attack: Our increasingly computerized cars. Today's cars come equipped with many computer based systems that control the engine, brakes, transmissions, air conditioning/heat, lights, ... Some cars can even park themselves, thanks to new technological developments. A TV ad for a certain Ford vehicle, run ad nauseum in my market area, immediately comes to mind.

The main problems seem to stem from onboard wireless communications devices such as bluetooth, OnStar, and even Wi-fi connections. We're NOT talking about your laptop or phone; we're talking about systems that are built into the car to support features we're seeing advertised more and more lately. These interfaces to the outside world can allow cyber attackers to hack into automotive systems and change files, or assume control of the car's essential functions such as braking. The article goes on to explain that not only Al Qaeda terrorists, but even common criminals could exploit such vulnerabilities to commit all manner of mayhem. Imagine, for example, a stalker - by remote control - causing a woman's car to malfunction so she becomes stranded by the side of the road. Or a disgruntled dealership employee causing problems en masse with customers' vehicles; the article cites an actual case like this at a Texas used car dealership. Or, imagine someone by remote control hacking and disabling the alarm system on your car so they can get in to steal it or take whatever possessions you have stored in the car.

According to the article, some folks at Ford and Chrysler are concerned about present or future vulnerabilities. Let's hope they are concerned enough to take serious action before people get hurt.

You can find the entire text of the article here:,0,6784778.story?track=lat-pick

No comments:

Post a Comment

Constructive comments are welcome! Spam, or any abusive or profane comments will be deleted.