Are Car Computers a Hacking Risk?

Lab and road tests by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego have demonstrated what might be the potential to hack into computer systems in cars.

In an article on The Register website, John Leyden says the computer technology that improves efficiency and safety of our cars also presents new risks, according to the researchers. The 11-person research team was able to disable the brakes, selectively brake individual wheels on demand and stop the engine of the car they hacked into. They were also able to “display arbitrary messages, falsify the fuel level and the speedometer reading,” says the article.

The researchers suggested two attack scenarios: a mechanic or valet could physically access the car’s systems, and a hacker could access one of the wireless networks those systems are plugged into. The article says that no remote attack on a car has ever been recorded. But the researchers, who expected the test hacking to require more effort, found the systems they tested “to be tremendously fragile.”

Besides outlining the test scenarios, the researchers’ paper, “Experimental Security Analysis of a Modern Automobile,” considers how car manufacturers might be able to address these security shortcomings.

To read the article, click here:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/14/car_security_risks/