With the rise of driverless and fully-electronic vehicles, the future of cars is exciting and limitless. Auto manufacturers have made important strides in technology that have improved the safety of our cars. They’ve also made innovative features that lessen the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. However, there is one area that’s lacking — and that’s cybersecurity against car hacking.
Back in 2015, two engineers named Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek wanted to expose just how easy it is to compromise a car’s security given the knowledge and tools. A journalist agreed to drive down the highway in a Jeep, knowing that the pair would be remotely hacking — and therefore controlling — the vehicle.
Charlie and Chris were able to gain control of the vehicle’s electronic control units (ECUs) via the internet and control dashboard functions, windshield wipers, and even the engine and brakes. Chrysler promptly issued a massive vehicle recall in order to improve security. Thankfully, this prompted many other car companies to proactively address the issue. General Motors and Tesla are among the first companies to reward white-hat hackers who point out software vulnerabilities.
For now, traditional break-ins remain far more common. However, as vehicles become increasingly more connected, the potential for car hacks will rise. It’s crucial to stay up on top of any car security updates issued by your auto manufacturer. Previously, you would only hear about a software update if it was part of an official recall or lawsuit. But now, many car companies are letting consumers know about threats as soon as they arise via over-the-air (OTA) updates. You can authorize these updates through your entertainment system similarly to updating the operating system on your smartphone.
For more tips on how to recognize and prevent car hacking against you and your vehicle, check out the animated infographic below.
Last Updated on February 3, 2021.