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Locking More Than the Doors as Cars Become Computers on Wheels


Hacking an automobile.

Concern that cars could be hacked by criminals, terrorists, or even rogue governments has prompted a new era of security efforts within the auto industry.

Credit: Thomas Janes

While cars have been targeted by hackers for at least a decade, today's vehicles carry far more electronic equipment, and autonomous driving technology that relies on sensors, cameras, and radar is fast approaching.

Concern that cars could be hacked by criminals, terrorists, or even rogue governments has prompted a new era of security efforts within the auto industry.

The average car has over 150 million lines of computer code, and that complexity creates a real risk of cyberattack, according to a 2018 University of Michigan report.

However, hacking into a car's driver controls requires a lot of knowledge and effort, which is one reason why there has not been a significant number of major attacks.

In addition, there is not much incentive for bad actors, because the identity information stored onboard vehicles is limited.

The auto industry can learn a lot about cybersecurity from the aerospace industry; said KPMG's Jono Anderson, "Maybe it’s possible to hack the entertainment system in a plane and get free movies, but it’s virtually impossible to hack the actual communications."

From The New York Times
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