Web Connected Car Systems Can Be Hacked for Mass Traffic Sabotage!

Web Connected Car Systems Can Be Hacked for Mass Traffic Sabotage!


It is a perfectly fine Spring day and a rush hour in New York and the entire tristate area.  Suddenly, despite rush hour traffic which is still moving along, hundreds of cars go out of control all over the three states and result in series of terrible accidents.  A 16-wheeler swerves off the Verrazano and it is broken down.

Web Connected Car Systems Can Be Hacked for Mass Traffic Sabotage! #Hacking Click To Tweet

The entire Tri-state is brought down to a halt.  It is also the opening day of UN General Assembly session and the heads of states are on their way in the traffic.  For the intelligence agencies it is the greatest nightmare reminiscent of the “London Has Fallen” scenario.

Is Traffic Sabotage Possible by Hacking?

Is this a sensationalist thought?  Well not quite.  Recently, Jeep Cherokee recalled 1.5 million Vehicles because it could be hacked into by someone and the hacker could not just hit the brakes remotely but also drive the car off the highway!

The possibility of a hacker breaching a car’s technology to gain control of its operations came to light after two security researchers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, hacked into the connectivity of a Jeep Cherokee and demonstrated they were able to remotely hit the brakes, drive the car off the road or make electronics go haywire. That hack led to a recall of nearly 1.5 million vehicles.

With more and more cars offering either Apple CarPlay (cars offering CarPlay) and Android Auto (Cars offering Android Auto), and these systems vulnerable to the normal iOS or Android hacks – it is not inconceivable that someone sitting in China could hack into millions of cars and sabotage the security of any city through the control of its traffic!  After all, Chinese Hackers have been hacking the US Government systems for half a decade now.  Also, the hackers-to-go services are available on the underground market.

Android Auto or Apple CarPlay

Android Auto or Apple CarPlay

Vulnerabilities but Migration to Web Nevertheless!

This brings us to an interesting scenario – everyday the hackers are demonstrating that every system no matter how seemingly secure it is.. is vulnerable to a determined hacker!  And even when we don’t have a fool-proof security for the online systems, we are nevertheless going ahead with putting every critical activity of ours online.

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Most of these activities that go online happen in millions.  Are we ready for the potential consequences?  An announcement from FBI, Department of Transportation and NHTSA have articulated the same issue – but is there a solution?

Last month, the FBI, along with the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released a public service announcement warning that cars are becoming “increasingly vulnerable to remote exploits” through USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology in the vehicle. The announcement warns that not only is any data shared on the vehicle’s computer susceptible, even more alarming is the possibility of having your car exploited remotely that could allow someone the “ability to manipulate critical vehicle control systems,” the announcement said.

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