When Hackers Hijack Your Smart CarWhenHackers Hijack Your Smart Car

There are two ways of looking at a Smart Car.  This could be a vehicle where a lot of the control is now undertaken by micro- electronic and computer technology. Alternatively, this could be a car which does not need a driver–the car that can drive itself.  This autonomous car is close to being realized.   Apart from being all electric, these vehicles have a wide range of technologies and sensors to monitor and read their surrounding environments.  Fully- automated vehicles may be coming soon. A Smart car running from a battery could then also help with road congestion. Uber has already tested a “driverless car”.

Electronic technology has become an increasing feature of modern vehicles. There may be a problem in totally eliminating the driver, as anyone familiar with driving will know. Real time decisions require split- second judgments.  Possibly, computer technology has not reached this yet.

Now many cars are starting to resemble a laptop on wheels. With this comes the problem of possible attacks from hackers.

Once the problem was car thieves.  Now hackers have shown an interest. Hackers could extend from an adolescent geek in a bed room anywhere, to organized criminal gangs.  With each advance in technology there is a corresponding advance in those who wish to exploit these advances with a variety of malicious intentions.

One of the first vehicles to experience problems was the Chrysler Cherokee Jeep.  There was a report of a driver having his Jeep immobilized by a hacker somewhere.  Vehicles are starting to use Electronic Control Units (ECU) or Electronic Control Modules (ECM).  These can control a whole range of different car systems. This can include the timing of the ignition, controlling the amount of fuel the engine uses, plus it can have an effect on the car’s gear systems. A possible way in for hackers could be an app called Uconnect, which has been used in new Fiats and Chryslers. This sets out to provide a way of making telephone calls, links to a car navigation system, and a range of entertainment options.  It is fine as it stands. However, hackers were able to get hold of the IP (Internet Protocol Address) of individual vehicles. This information was even published online!  The vehicle IP address is a key for an experienced hacker. Once they have this, they could then hack merrily, into any of the car’s electronic systems, and ultimately the car’s engine.  So the scene in the latest Fast and Furious 8 movie, where the bad lady villain takes remote control of a whole host of vehicles, may not be so far- fetched.

Coming back to the Tesla, a security researcher found six faults with a particular model. The entertainment systems could be accessed. The vehicle can be locked and unlocked. The boot could be opened remotely.  Again, engine systems could be accessed and turned on and off.

Yes, there are a whole host of advances in using more micro- electronic technology. This could include greater security, very detailed fuel control, and excellent overall driver control. However, if the vehicle can “communicate”, then someone can intercept that communication.

What you also need is a rescue service that keeps abreast of these developments.  If your car has been hacked and immobilized, then there is an emergency towing service in the Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco areas. We will sort out any problem and rescue you from your dilemma. The service is open 24/7 and we will get to you fast. Please contact us at (800) 518-8687.


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