Smart Cars Vulnerable to Hacking !

cyber security articles 2019 5/5 (4)

A connected car is a car connected to the internet over a local area network. It is a result of the internet of things(IOT). Manufacturers started equipping internet access in their vehicles to make the car smarter, and thereby for a smarter commute.

So how smart is the connected car?

Connected cars can provide the driver with controls and information such as notifications of crashes, speeding, safety alerts, reminders. It can also integrate smartphones, send or receive texts, navigate, voice commands. More of its options include roadside assistance, contextual help, self-parking, autopilot, traffic lane assistance, monitor the driver’s presence on the road, engine controls, car diagnosis, remotely activate climate system, remote start engine, control car over the phone and much more. Connected car ensures that the system takes most of the motor vehicle control and it makes things easier for the driver.

How connected cars work for a safe drive?

The sensors and cameras equipped in the car scan the environment and keeps the car monitor off road lanes, vehicles, pedestrians, obstacles and road curves.


Sensors track other vehicles and lanes and warn the driver of any collision. If the distance for collision decreases too much and the driver remains unnoticed, the car reacts to the situation by braking or steering accordingly on its own to avoid the collision.

Connected cars scans all areas around the car for other vehicle and obstacles.



Are connected cars vulnerable to hacking?

When cars equipped with internet access like any other internet-equipped device, cars become susceptible to hacking. Security researchers at  Uber’s Advanced Technology Center, Charlie Miller, and Chris Valasek demonstrated this by remotely gaining access to a 2014 Jeep’s digital system and crash the system on the highway. They could even disable the brakes.Their reverse engineering attack on Jeep has made much impact that the Chrysler automotive industry recalled 1.4 million of their vehicles.Chrysler fixed this, but it was embarrassing and costly. Now again Miller and Valasek presented a new list of attacks they could do on the on the same Jeep Cherokee which they hacked in 2015.This time they showed that they could cause even serious attacks like unintended acceleration, slamming on the car’s brakes turning the vehicle’s’ steering wheel at any speed of choice.

They gained access to the vehicle’s internal network known as CAN (Controller Area Network) bus which enabled them to gain more control of the vehicle.Unlike the previous attack, they could not remotely make these attacks and required a laptop directly plugged into the Jeep’s CAN bus via a port under the dashboard.  


Below image shows the features that hackers can gain control of currently or soon.

smart cars 2

Meanwhile, there is also another side for this possible threat. Especially, no hacker has ever taken remote control of a stranger’s car.The Jeep which Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek hacked belonged to them and they had been working on it more than a year to figure out how to hack it.Moreover, the second time they hacked the car they had to plug a laptop into the car ( which is not remote hacking). Hence, car hacking is extraordinarily difficult to do. However, the car companies should not neglect security. The control circuits and internet circuits have to be secured.



Even though hacking a car seems to be hypothetical, the cars can be accessed if not driven away by hackers or thieves. Yash, a tech worker in San Francisco, says that connected cars were not as safe as he considered them to be. A keyless entry secured 2013 Mazda3 hatchback, and the boot can open with the remote key in the pocket itself by approaching towards the boot. One day, he noticed that his valuables including a computer were missing from the boot.He found that the glass and doors not broken.Also, there was no physical damage of any breaking.This theft could have been done by copying the or amplifying the radio pulse generated by the owner’s key by the intruder’s device. His insurance company refused the insurance for failing to provide any evidence of physical breaking.Such incidents reported in California and Chicago.If it is possible in the US, it could happen anywhere else soon!



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