It is 2016 and though we don’t have hovercars yet, we do apparently have the privilege of getting our cars hacked. The FBI, the Department of Transportation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have put out a new PSA warning drivers that cars are “increasingly vulnerable to remote exploits.”
It reads in part:
Vehicle hacking occurs when someone with a computer seeks to gain unauthorized access to vehicle systems for the purposes of retrieving driver data or manipulating vehicle functionality. While not all hacking incidents may result in a risk to safety – such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle – it is important that consumers take appropriate steps to minimize risk. Therefore, the FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles.
If there is one part that sticks out, it’s that last sentence, asking drivers “to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats” in their cars. This is where we’re headed. A few years ago, cybersecurity was the domain of experts, and only really applied to your PC, maybe your phone, too. As every piece of technology starts to go online, and talk to other pieces of technology (eg., your fridge, soon), you’re going to have to worry about the security of all of it.
The fun thing about cybersecurity is that one weak link in the chain can collapse the whole entire structure. And now your car is part of it.