Security Flaws Found In Internet-Equipped Vehicles

A Los Angeles based software development team has discovered a cybersecurity risk that could potentially leave drivers with Internet equipped vehicles vulnerable to hackers.

NBC Miami reports that new vehicles that have onboard internet connectivity are vulnerable to hacks while drivers are behind the wheel and that could mean a potential loss of control of the vehicle.

One of the software engineers that were part of the investigative team who wishes to remain anonymous told NBC in an interview, “By the end of the year, it’s going to be very, very difficult to buy a new car in this country that does not have built-in always-on-internet connectivity.”

The technology connects a vehicle’s onboard computer system with info-tainment systems that are connected to the internet. This internet connectivity can leave drivers open to hackers with malicious intent so that the driver has no control and can get into an accident.

The anonymous engineer says that this frightening reality is happening now.

Jamie Court, who is with the Consumer Watchdog group, says that the issue is big enough to consider it a threat to national security and by the end of 2019, auto manufacturers General Motors, Ford and Toyota and Ford will only be selling vehicles that are internet-connected.

“If I’m someone who wants to do harm to harm America, “ Court said, “I forget about the electric grid, I forget about the elections system – I go to your car.”

The Consumer Watchdog group’s report, “Kill Switch” is calling for auto manufacturers to offer consumers a way to disconnect their vehicles from the internet in order to protect it from hackers that may want to gain control of the like steering, brakes, and engine systems and would cost an estimated 50 cents per vehicle to install.

The software engineer who was interviewed for the story believes that car companies are reluctant to do this because they believe that it is more effective and far less expensive to repair cars remotely through remote software downloads rather than through recalls.