As the concept of self-driving vehicles becomes a reality, cyber experts worry that a hack into a vehicle’s system could lead to a deadly and catastrophic incident. A recent article written by John Farley, vice president and cyber risk consulting practice leader for HUB International, discusses these potential dangers and whether autonomous vehicles are actually secure from cybercriminals. Farley notes that in 2015, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million Jeep Grand Cherokees after white hat hackers discovered a cyber vulnerability through the vehicles’ Uconnect entertainment system. Through gaining remote access to the system, the hackers were able to control the vehicle’s speed, braking system, transmission and radio controls.
In the coming months, we will see autonomous vehicles hit the road in cities across the U.S., as companies such as Uber and Tesla begin experimenting with self-driving cars. If hackers were able to demonstrate that much control solely through a vehicle’s entertainment system, the capabilities a cybercriminal could have over an autonomous vehicle is frightening.
However, this transition does not end with interconnected cars. Farley explains that one small vulnerability could lead to a cybercriminal taking over not only an automobile, but planes, railway systems and the marine industry as well. Therefore, we must be certain such vehicles are protected and secure. As the transportation industry enters the interconnected world, one tiny flaw could lead to devastating consequences.