Of all the types of hacking that are out there, car hackings are probably the most attention-getting. In the past, DARPA researchers found vulnerabilities that would let a hacker cut the brakes on some cars and other teams have found a simple text message can be enough to hack your car. But a team of Chinese security researchers have one-upped everyone, and hijacked a car while it’s moving.
The good news is that Keen Security Lab are “white hat” hackers who find and report security vulnerabilities in order to make the stuff we use safer. Unfortunately, that’s about the end of the good news. The remote access allowed the hackers to do everything from controlling the windshield wipers to moving the seat to popping open the locks to, most troublingly, hitting the brakes from miles away. They don’t seem to have been able to compromise the car’s Autopilot feature, but what they can control is still jolting to see.
Tesla owners should, according to Keen, download the latest firmware to patch vulnerabilities and prevent these hacks from being a problem. Still, though, it might be worth asking car manufacturers what software is necessary and how access to your car can be more easily blocked off from hackers. Self-driving cars are only becoming more popular, and that might mean a future where control might be taken from the driver.