Fear of car hacking


(KTSF by Ricky Chan)

Nowadays, many new cars are equipped with computer systems which enable car owners to monitor the status of their vehicles, or even connect with their mobile devices. However, McAfee says these computer systems could become hackers’ targets.

According to the McAfee 2012 Threat Prediction about malwares on computers and electronic devices, computer systems in cars could potentially be hacked. Ian Bain, Consumer Cyber Safety Advocate of McAfee, says computer systems in vehicles include 200 million to 300 million codes, which can control critical systems such as engines, brakes, navigation systems, and bluetooth systems.

Universities have demonstrated that attacks to vehicle computer systems are possible. Bain says, “It can either happen when someone has physical access to your car, and they can download software to your system, or what we are seeing with entertainments systems is that they can attack this wirelessly through your cell phone. For example, misdirecting people to the wrong direction on their navigation systems, it could be stealing their information, both contacts and their schedules, and other personal information. But there is potential for greater attack, if you wanted to hurt somebody. You can potentially just rob the engine system or the braking system.”

Although there is no evidence showing any vehicle computer systems have been hacked, Blain suggests potential car buyers should ask smart questions before buying cars, such as which systems of the car are connected to the Internet.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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