The Michigan legislature recently introduced two cyber security bills aimed at people who hack the computer systems of vehicles. For example, if someone hacks a vehicle and it results in injury or death, that person could go to jail – potentially for life.
This legislation brings to light issues with cyber security within an age of smart technology and Internet of Things: Nearly everything with which we have contact is likely to have a computer and software systems. And these threats aren’t only hypothetical.
Recently Discovered Vehicle Vulnerabilities
Last July, a Wired report showed that there was a major vulnerability in Chrysler’s Fiat that would allow it to be remotely controlled by a hacker. The issue was found in the Uconnect feature that enables navigation, phone calls, WiFi hotspots and more. Hackers could access the feature’s cellular connection and gain access to the car’s IP address.
BMW also had a vulnerability, which would have allowed outsiders to unlock a vehicle’s doors. Jeep Cherokee’s engine and brakes could be overtaken by hackers due to an issue with the infotainment system.
Importance of Testing
What these failures showcase is the need to have in-depth software testing before software systems are installed. These vulnerabilities shouldn’t be discovered by consumers after the product is released. If an actual hack occurs, vehicle makers’ reputations will suffer – which could be potentially lead to lawsuits and loss of reputation.
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