Driverless Cars Could Be Taken Over by Auto Hackers

Hacker attack on car

There is a lot of test­ing being done lately on how hack­ers can take con­trol away from the dri­ver. Hope­fully this won’t encour­age cyber ter­ror­ists to work harder at it!

Read all about a Forbes writer behind the wheel of a 3,500-pound Ford Escape that refuses to stop or slow down – with two hack­ers cack­ling in the back seat as he tries to gain back control.

There weren’t real hack­ers, and there were on a test run. Char­lie Miller, a secu­rity engi­neer at Twit­ter, and Chris Valasek, direc­tor of secu­rity intel­li­gence at IOAc­tive, have spent the past year try­ing to demon­strate what hack­ers are capa­ble of doing these days. They received an $80,000-plus grant from the Pentagon’s research arm called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

These days, just about every US car­maker offers a cel­lu­lar ser­vice or WiFi net­work – GM’s OnStar, Toyota’s Safety Con­nect, and Ford’s SYNC, are exam­ples. That’s where the hack­ers may gain access.

For those afraid of being inside a dri­ver­less car and hav­ing it taken over by a psy­cho com­puter sys­tem or hacker, there is some­body who agrees with that con­cern. A hacker who goes by the name of Zoz par­tic­i­pated at the Def­Con hacker con­fer­ence in Las Vegas. While he’s fas­ci­nated with every unmanned, robotic device, he knows it’s all vul­ner­a­ble. “But, like every­thing else humans ever made, it’s going to get hacked,” he said.

Dri­ver­less cars rely on sen­sors to avoid hit­ting other objects – sen­sors, laser range find­ers, cam­eras, iner­tial mea­sure­ment units, wheel sen­sors, and more.

This is part of the prob­lem – these sen­sors can be tricked to run that dri­ver­less car into a wall, another car, or off the road. When you’re talk­ing about an advanced vehi­cle like Google’s dri­ver­less car, the attrac­tion is there for hack­ers. Stay tuned for more…..