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Cars' Computer Systems Called at Risk to Hackers


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Automobiles, which will be increasingly connected to the Internet in the near future, could be vulnerable to hackers just as computers are now, two teams of computer scientists are warning in a paper to be presented next week. The scientists say that they were able to remotely control braking and other functions, and that the car industry was running the risk of repeating the security mistakes of the PC industry.

"We demonstrate the ability to adversarially control a wide range of automotive functions and completely ignore driver input—including disabling the brakes, selectively braking individual wheels on demand, stopping the engine, and so on," they write in the report, "Experimental Security Analysis of a Modern Automobile," which will be presented at a computer security conference next week in Oakland, CA.

The researchers were able to demonstrate their ability to circumvent a wide variety of systems critical to the safety of drivers and passengers. They also demonstrated what they described as "composite attacks" that showed their ability to insert malicious software and then erase any evidence of tampering after a crash.

From The New York Times
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