New Technologies = Potential Vehicle Hacking

Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

New Technologies = Potential Vehicle Hacking

With new technologies and electronic safety features being introduced to vehicles, there will also be new risks or potential errors. One of those risks is the potential for hackers to take control of vehicles. Many vehicles have electronic systems to manage entertainment, GPS and safety features. These systems are very easy to hack into which could compromise safety.

Everything from seat belt and braking functions to infotainment and Bluetooth connect to Electronic Control Units (ECUs). Because all ECUs work through the vehicle’s controller area network (CAN), it makes the system vulnerable to attacks. If one of these areas is hacked, all of the other areas are compromised.

Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal announced at a hearing on “The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things,” that they will be introducing a bill which would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create federal standards that would guarantee that automakers protect privacy and security of consumers. “We need the electronic equivalent of seat belts and airbags to keep drivers and their information safe,” Sen. Markey said. Markey sent questions to 19 different manufactures on what they are doing to protect consumers from being hacked through new technologies. The responses varied, but overall showed that not much was being done.

NHTSA has done little to develop a standard to ensure electronic systems have well-designed safety and security. When safety agencies do not have established standards, what incentive do automakers have to develop safety measures for these technologies?  For consumers, cybersecurity is becoming more significant now that they can see what affects it may have on them.

BMW recently announced that 2.2 million of its vehicles had a security flaw which could allow hackers to break in using a smartphone. With access to the BMW Connected Drive System, hackers could activate the horn, open the door, or operate a vehicle. The security flaw could be combined with previous flaws in older models giving hackers the ability to steal the vehicle.

Considering last year’s record breaking recalls, hopefully NHTSA will play catch up and start setting standards for these electronic systems. With systems like vehicle to vehicle technology and driverless vehicles quickly approaching the market, the potential risks of hacking should be a priority. To read more on this issue visit Safety Research and Strategies.

Source: Safety Research and Strategies

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  1. […] has a strong position with safety as its big push. Cars are run using electronic control units (ECUs), which control steering, acceleration, braking […]

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