— What would you do if you were driving on a busy highway and the air conditioning suddenly kicked on when you didn’t touch a thing? How about if that was followed by the windshield wipers flying back and forth and the radio volume slowly creeping its way up to “speaker-crushing” levels? Or worse, the brakes stop working. Sound scary?
A recent experiment conducted by Wired.com shows how this scenario is possible by hacking a car via a cellular connection. The vehicle in this case was a Jeep Cherokee traveling near St. Louis. While the driver was aware the Jeep would be hacked, he didn’t realize the true power of the hackers until silent panic filled his mind and body.
“Immediately my accelerator stopped working. As I frantically pressed the pedal and watched the RPMs climb, the Jeep lost half its speed, then slowed to a crawl. This occurred just as I reached a long overpass, with no shoulder to offer an escape. The experiment had ceased to be fun.”
The experiment is an example of the what can go wrong as our cars become more like computers on wheels. In the Jeep test, the hackers were sitting in a basement miles away, but what is going to be the results when hackers are sitting across the world in a nation ready to cause trouble to the U.S.?
“The attack tools Miller and Valasek developed can remotely trigger more than the dashboard and transmission tricks they used against me on the highway. They demonstrated as much on the same day as my traumatic experience on I–64.”
Each year, the U.S. moves closer to driverless cars that will be completely controlled not only be computers inside the cars, but technology installed within surrounding infrastructure. A hackers dream challenge? Absolutely.
Learn what can happen to your car from only two guys in a basement with a couple of laptops by reading the Wired story.