Unless companies involved in creating the new driverless car industry come up with a way to make cars secure, it is quite possible, almost inevitable, that black hat hackers will take over cars for purposes of fun, sport, or terrorism, causing huge damage and loss of life.
In an article published this week in Wired, two hackers were hired to commandeer a Jeep Cherokee to see if they could take control of the vehicle while sitting in their living room (see image below). Wired writer, Andy Greenberg, was traveling on a highway at 70 mph when the car was taken over by a hack through the infotainment system.
The following video shows how Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee without adding any equipment to the vehicle, commandeering transmission, steering and brakes.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the University of Michigan has opened up its own driverless car testing facility. If Detroit holds true to form over the past 50 years, driverless cars built in Michigan are likely to be easily hacked, putting occupants and bystanders in harms way. The software created by Chrysler for its “infotainment system” has more holes than Swiss cheese.
It’s somewhat promising that Google, a software company that has a significant amount of software security experience in running its search engines, will have the experience and skills to secure cars.