In a July issue, Wired magazine featured a story in which they asked two hackers to try to take control of a Jeep Cherokee from a remote location. The experiment took place on the outskirts of St. Louis, and the hackers quickly started controlling the vehicle’s windshield wipers, air-conditioning, and radio. Later, the hackers halted the vehicle’s transmission. The experiment ended safely; however, it monetarily stopped being a fun challenge when the driver could not control the Jeep as it crawled toward an overpass with no escape route.
The scary part of that experiment is that many vehicles operating on the roadways today have some level of connective vulnerability. From navigation systems to the applications that run your transmission, certain vehicles may be susceptible to malicious hackers. Automotive manufacturers are starting to think about ways to offer automatic updates to vehicle operating systems to stay on top of the ever-changing threat landscape.
According to the hacking experts in the article, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, the vehicles on the market that are currently most vulnerable to an attack include the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and the 2014 Infiniti Q50.
As the Internet of Things becomes a reality at a breakneck pace, automated and fully connected vehicles are a mere stone’s throw away from the status quo. The real risk presented with these new and amazing ways to connect is the slow evolution of cybersecurity. On a daily basis, articles emerge that highlight the ways in which our infrastructure is not ready to support the technological advancements offered to consumers.
Similarly, hackers and the media consistently evaluate potential threats and vulnerabilities in connected weapons, planes, and nuclear facilities. Hacking any of this large-scale infrastructure and defense could put lives at stake and change the face of global internet connectivity forever.
To stay safe, many experts recommend asking questions about security protocols before purchasing a connected device, installing recommended updates, creating unique passwords, and only visiting secure websites on any device.