Connected Vehicle

AA: Cyber-criminals could exploit the wireless connectivity to seize vehicles

Published: December 29, 2014 | Hampshire, UK

The car is increasingly becoming the next-gen mobile computer which not only is giving peace of mind to commuters and authorities but also inviting potential cyber criminals to hack it. We are, for sure, in for a ‘hard & fast’ drive!
                  Edmund King

Millions of cars are at risk of being hacked by criminal gangs or terrorists who could steal information, extort money from drivers or even cause vehicles to crash, motoring experts have warned.

Modern cars are being fitted with wireless networks and internet connections to allow for music streaming, Google searches, restaurant bookings and news updates.

Drivers of luxury vehicles face being ‘hacked’ by criminal gangs even while driving down the road in a stark warning delivered by the The Automobile Association.

AA President Edmund King said that permanent connections to the internet found in high-end luxury cars could provide criminals with the opportunity to interfere with a car’s safety systems, even while it is driving along the road. King said next generation safety systems will include a ‘Co-operative Intelligent Transport System’ where cars will be able to talk to each other, reducing the chance of road traffic accidents. However, he fears that car cyber criminals could hack into this network to deliberately compromise safety. He said in-car internet connections could also become infected by viruses.

According to King, modern technology has led increase in car crime, which has been on the decline since its peak in the early 1990s, when all thieves needed was a screwdriver.

Some criminals are able to use wireless technology to fool key-less entry systems and steal the cars.

Speaking to The Times, King said,

“You are now getting the connected car. You’re getting cars that are connected to the internet 24 hours a day. If cyber-criminals targeted automobiles like they are targeting other things we’d be in for a hard and fast ride. The more cars rely on technology, the more there is to get at.”

King said he was concerned about criminals deliberately targeting in-car safety systems.

He said, “Ultimately there could be a terrorist-type threat to transport systems. I don’t think we’re there yet but it is something that needs to be addressed.”

Drivers could face other types of cyber-crime while in their cars. Jacques Louw of MWR security warned criminals may be able to turn on in-car microphones to listen in on conversations, or download information from the car’s sat-nav.

The threat posed by cyber criminals is so great that the US military commissioned computer scientist Kathleen Fisher to try and hack her way into a 2012 model American-made car.

Source: The Daily Times


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