US: auto industry braces for upcoming cyber attacks image

Hackers have been a plague for many businesses and industry segments since the computer revolution, but they’re now also targeting the next generation cars.

So far, automobiles have not been under their radar – cars are still difficult to control because they need physical access to their computers and there’s no big financial utility. But, as autonomous cars emerge and legislators want to introduce connected cars that can talk between themselves and with the surroundings, the auto industry grows weary of the impending threat.

David Strickland, the former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and now an attorney with Venable in Washington, D.C., says the first concern is terrorism – malicious hackers could take hold of cars and send them on murderous missions.

Strickland, speaking to US reporters on the sidelines of the 2014 SAE Convergence conference held at Detroit’s Cobo Center, said there’s a “need to jump on it now, ” as “you are fighting criminals.” He hopes that time is on their side and automakers and security experts would sort the issue before vehicles become even more connected and the exposure raises awareness among hackers to try and steal precious information.