Back in 2010, two researchers from a couple of West Coast universities seized control of a GM model using cellular and Bluetooth connections, exposing maybe for the first time a huge security flaw.
Just half a decade later, hackers have been showing how they can remotely take control of Fiat Chrysler vehicles, of GM autos using the OnStar application or the Tesla Model S – showing how the vulnerabilities have actually grown. Cars don’t seem to be any more secure than when the university guys did it,” comments Charlie Miller, a security expert at Twitter, one of the two friendly hackers that orchestrated the attack on a Jeep Cherokee. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has embarked on the first known instance of a recall being triggered by a cybersecurity vulnerability – the safety campaign covers 1.4 million autos sold in the US. Experts and lawmakers are now pointing the finger at the automotive industry and auto safety regulators to mitigate the concerns because more and more cars are connected to the Internet and act as “computers” on wheels.
According to recent research conducted by KPMG, an average vehicle today has between 40 and 50 computers on board, completing 20 million lines of software code, which is more than what a Boeing 787 ha son board. So far, all the attacks have been conducted by “white hat,” or ethical hackers, and their findings were first reported to the company and then to the wide audience. But the threat that malevolent attackers might take over the car with the laptop sitting somewhere half around the world is now tangible.