Back when our conveyances were horses and buggies, your engine had a mind of its own and ran on oats. The gasoline-powered motorcar put the control squarely in the hands of the driver for nearly a century but as car technology advances and computers play a larger role in the running of your vehicle, there is a mounting concern that your car may once again have a mind of its own – or rather, that its mind might be controlled by someone other than the driver.
The more car systems become connected to the internet, the more opportunities there are for hackers to wreak havoc.
The idea of your car being “hacked” – i.e. someone remotely taking control of your vehicle while you’re driving – hit the mainstream this summer when Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles in order to correct a vulnerability in its new UConnect infotainment system that would have allowed a hacker who knew a specific car’s IP address to remotely control parts of the vehicle, from the environmental controls to cutting the engine.
Check out this video from Wired to see some hackers and a Wired writer demonstrating what they’re able to do to his car with their laptops.
Obviously, not every vehicle faces a huge hacking risk – some cars are more hackable than others – and there are steps you can take to keep your car as secure as possible. This handy infographic from forensic engineering consulting firm PT&C|LWG is a bit of long read, but it really lays out which cars are most vulnerable, how “hacking” works on vehicles and what we as drivers can do to help mitigate the risks. Is your vehicle on the “most hackable” list?