How safe do you feel from hackers?
You’ve seen the OnStar commercial: A stolen SUV is remotely disabled and glides safely into the median, no police chase necessary. Convenient and safe! But what’s to stop a nefarious hacker from doing that too? Not much, say researchers.
It’s not really a surprise, I suppose. These systems are essentially a computer and a network just like any other computer system and network, so “it was only a matter of time” comes to mind. That time is now, thanks to researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, who were able to take control of cars via their network and force them to stop, turn off their engines, disable their brakes, or—most troubling—discharge window washing fluid with wanton abandon.
The one saving grace, if there is one, was that the researchers had to first physically attach a laptop to the diagnostics port. Not an easy task, but certainly not an impossible one either (think: annual car inspection process).