A research group that calls itself I Am The Cavalry (IATC) is concerned about how safe the average car is from hackers. Computers are now very much part of the modern car with up to 200 small embedded computers or electronic control units (ECUs) fitted.
These computers all connect to a network that feeds data around the car's system itself and they are not usually made by car manufacturers but outsourced to other companies. These companies can often be very cagey about how their systems work. While it seemingly is one way to keep hackers out, it makes it harder for people who want to know just how safe their cars are.
How safe is your car?
Security researchers are troubled by the lack of transparency from ECU makers and have looked at in-car computer systems to find out for themselves the current state of car security.
What researchers have found has worried them - a report at the recent DefCon conference highlighted exploitable problems almost everywhere, from telematics controllers, wireless tyre pressure systems and even anti-theft systems. The most vulnerable vehicle in their study? The 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The 2014 Dodge Viper was deemed the least hackable.
The researchers said that most attacks sought to remotely control a car via communication systems installed on many modern cars. With the future probably being one where all cars are connected, the vulnerability of car systems will be a legitimate concern.
Tesla, fortunately, has been very much active in engaging those who could help it squash bugs in the software and maintains an open disclosure policy. Other companies are less than forthcoming as yet but that might soon change.
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