Automakers Fail to Protect Cars Against Hackers: Report

Stephen Elmer
by Stephen Elmer

Many of our cars are vulnerable to hackers according to a new report.

According to the report overseen by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, many automakers have failed to adequately protect their vehicles from hacking attacks. Congress and federal regulators are worried that as our vehicles become tapped into wireless networks and add sophisticated electronic systems, they become more vulnerable to hackers looking to interfere with the vehicles’ systems.

For proof, Markey pointed to studies that show hackers gaining control over vehicles, “causing them to suddenly accelerate, turn, kill the brakes, activate the horn, control the headlights, and modify the speedometer and gas gauge readings. Additional concerns came from the rise of navigation and other features that record and send location or driving history information,” said Markey.

SEE ALSO: Should You be Worried About Car Hacking?

The report comes in the wake of a broadcast on the CBS program “60 minutes,” showing a researcher hacking into a car and turning on the windshield wipers, honking the horn and deactivating the brakes. “Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyber attacks or privacy invasions,” Markey said. “Even as we are more connected than ever in our cars and trucks, our technology systems and data security remain largely unprotected.”

As of right now there is no known real-world case of a car being remotely hacked, though some automakers were unable to report on past hacking incidents. Markey says the government needs to establish clear rules on how automakers encrypt and protect data to ensure the safety of new vehicles.

Automakers pointed out that currently the Society of Automotive Engineers is working to draft standards on electronic control system safety.

Stephen Elmer
Stephen Elmer

Stephen covers all of the day-to-day events of the industry as the News Editor at AutoGuide, along with being the AG truck expert. His truck knowledge comes from working long days on the woodlot with pickups and driving straight trucks professionally. When not at his desk, Steve can be found playing his bass or riding his snowmobile or Sea-Doo. Find Stephen on <A title="@Selmer07 on Twitter" href="http://www.twitter.com/selmer07">Twitter</A> and <A title="Stephen on Google+" href="http://plus.google.com/117833131531784822251?rel=author">Google+</A>

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  • Alastair Tombs Alastair Tombs on Feb 09, 2015

    60 Minutes report featured a GM product equipped w/ OnStar, correct? Just wondering if there is any research into which car-based computer systems are most vulnerable? If bluetooth-enabled vehicles are susceptible via phones, etc. So we know OnStar can be hacked, but what the systems in Ford, Honda, Chryser-Fiat, etc.?

  • Craig Cole Craig Cole on Feb 09, 2015

    Why is the burglar wearing a dress shirt and tie with his ski mask? Is he a classy crook?

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