Is It Possible to Hack a Vehicle?

Most people have a significant amount of their lives documented online. The Internet gives us a way to connect with friends, start businesses, and make purchases. It also has allowed hackers to gain control of your devices. As automobiles rely more on computers than ever before, it has become possible through computers to hack a vehicle.

Although only 150 incidents occurred in 2019, that figure represents almost twice as many cybersecurity problems from the year before, which means the attempts to hack a vehicle are growing at 90% or more annually.

Why Is Car Hacking a Concern?

If a hacker gets into a car’s coding, can’t the driver turn the vehicle off to eliminate the problem?

Imagine that you’re driving at high speeds along I-10 when your steering wheel suddenly veers you into oncoming traffic. Trying to disengage the engine at that point would be an impossible task.

The more significant threat to car hacking involves the autonomous automobile industry. Charlie Miller, who remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee through its Internet connection in 2015 to demonstrate this problem, says that it is a “very difficult” problem to solve.

Our vehicles are already insecure. Adding sensors and computers that control them while maintaining an internet connection is a recipe for unwanted things to happen if the someone else were to gain control of it.

Demonstrations that date back as far as 2013 show that hackers can cause vehicles to perform an unintended acceleration, disable the brakes, or turn the steering wheel. If the car has over-the-internet access or a wired connection that a hacker can exploit, then this issue applies.

Remote Hacks Are Difficult to Defend

Over 80% of the attacks that occur from remote locations, which means the hacker doesn’t need to be physically near the vehicle. Short-range hacks, like the vulnerabilities found in the Tesla Model S key fob, represent the most incidents.

Company server attacks are still responsible for one out of every four incidents in which assailants hack a vehicle.

Short-range hacks require the individual performing the action to be within a few yards of the vehicle. It is the only way to break through the minimal encryption of the fob, which tends to be the weakest security point for modern cars.

A long-distance hack has the potential to happen from anywhere in the world. That means we are all left at the mercy of the automakers and their suppliers to locate and repair these problems before something happens.

Although you can’t prevent most hacking incidents, you can keep your keys away from the door to prevent someone from stealing the vehicle from your driveway. This is a developing problem that hopefully will soon be addressed more widely to prevent the rate of growth of incidents from increasing any further.