It’s not so far-fetched as you might think. You’re driving along, and suddenly you no longer have control over your vehicle—steering, gone; brakes, gone. As you careen down the road, you see you’re not the only one without control. Just about everyone around you has lost control of his or her vehicle except for that vintage pickup and that old chrome-bumpered sedan. What’s going on?
New cars rely on technology, becoming ever “smarter” and able to perform an array of functions to help drivers on the road, equipped with crash-avoidance systems, or steering and correcting for lane drift, and even braking when you get too close to a car in front of you. But researchers at universities and security companies have found that cars’ computers can be vulnerable to cyber attacks, accessed through their Bluetooth, WiFi, or OnStar connections. Researchers have examined scenarios where terrorists could command the controls of thousands of cars and cause widespread collisions and chaos. Or other scenarios where a thief could prompt a car to give a driver a false report of low tire pressure, and when the driver pulls over to inspect, the thief traps his victim.
Car manufacturers Ford and Chrysler are taking the potential threats and vulnerabilities to their cars’ computers very seriously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also concerned about vehicles that are vulnerable to cyber attacks, and has asked the National Academy of Sciences to examine the risks.
As cars are able to perform more and more functions for drivers—with computers that operate the cars’ systems—hackers can potentially exploit this technology and remotely take control. A study by the Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security—a collaboration of the University of California San Diego and the University of Washington—illustrated a scenario in which thieves could remotely command cars to report their GPS coordinates and vehicle identification numbers. This would allow the thieves to know the year, make, model and location of the most expensive ones. With this knowledge, the thieves could steal the cars they wanted by sending commands wirelessly to disable alarms, unlock the cars and start engines.
With smart cars in their infancy, it’s hard to imagine just how creative malicious hackers could be in exploiting the vulnerabilities of the technology. Kudos to the researchers, manufacturers, and feds for looking into ways to make this automotive enhancement safer for car owners and drivers on the road.
If you are in an accident, you need support. AA-Accident Attorneys provides their clients the expert legal help to win results. You can feel confident that the car accident lawyer who represent you know your concerns, and the issues you face with crowded roads, freeways, and highways that can lead to automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and truck accidents. The accident lawyer know these issues from the inside and out—as legal professionals and as citizens who share the road and live in the communities.
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