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Hacking cars is here; now it's time for solid security

Now that cars are getting their own IP addresses, the issue of security takes on a much different meaning from making sure you locked the door after you parked.

This link shows what can happen when someone hacks into a car. What this demonstrates – apart from the dangerous position into which the driver and passengers are put – is the importance of security.

New Electronics discussed this in a recent article. Here's what Green Hills' Joel Fabbre said about automotive security. "It's a big issue. It's challenging because of the complexity; there are anywhere from 10 to more than 100 CPUs in a modern car, along with millions of lines of code. If you can gain control of something that sends messages over the CAN bus, you could wreak havoc.

"There are so many cars out there. If you're a hacker, you look for scale. Maybe you might just want to use all these connected computers to send spam, but a scarier prospect is a hacker trying to inflict damage. If a hacker could launch a coordinated attack, it could be massively damaging – and the same applies to industrial control systems."

One of the automotive applications being touted for the IoT is providing remote access to the vehicle for things like diagnostics. By definition, if you're trying to diagnose a fault, you need access to all the car's systems – and if a service organisation can do that, so can anyone.

Time for automotive companies to get serious.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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