If someone asked you to operate a vehicle that you knew could be hacked and controlled by someone else, would you do it? Probably not if you're like a lot of people here in West Virginia. But in the name of research and the promotion of cyber security, that's exactly what one journalist for the tech website Wired did recently.
Some of our Charleston readers may have heard on the news about the successful hack of a Jeep Cherokee. According to sources, two hackers, who are security researchers, were able to access the vehicle's systems through a wireless connection called Uconnect. Even scarier still, they were able to do it remotely from 10 miles away.
In addition to being able to turn the vehicle's windshield wipers on and off with a few keystrokes, the hackers were also able to disable the vehicle's brakes, causing it to drive into a ditch. The experiment, as you can see, shows a very real safety risk to passengers in these vehicles. And as our more frequent readers may remember, it's this very safety hazard that we talked about back in February in one of our posts.
Even though Fiat Chrysler, the operator of the Uconnect system, did release an update to its software to prevent future hacks from occurring, it's important to know that computer hackers in general are constantly evolving their techniques in order to gain access to computer systems. The same could be true for the Uconnect system as well, which is why it will be important for Fiat Chrysler to stay on top of software updates down the road or risk liability if their vehicle's crash because of successful cyber attacks in the future.
Source: The Telegraph, "Hacker remotely crashes Jeep from 10 miles away," Sophie Curtis, July 21, 2015