The reality is that everyone knows their computer is open to any hacker attacks so users are equipping themselves with the best anti-virus applications out there. But, how about the new cars with built-in computers which are responsible for almost all the functionality in the car? The following tests showed some interesting results which should be taken into consideration by car manufacturers.
Fortunately, this type of hack is very difficult and requires advanced programming knowledge so the risk is minimal at the moment. Researches from Washington University and California University in San-Diego demonstrated a few details worth to take note of by the car manufacturers. Using a laptop with specially designed application the researches managed to take control over the car's main frame. During the tests researches demonstrated the ability to disable breaks and turn off the engine while the car is in motion.
The major problem is that modern cars have numerous system ties and functions which are responsible for performing a specific tasks using a special controller. The controller is located under the front panel of the car, if the device is connected to it then the device would be easily noticeable. But the key problem here is that the researches have proof that access to the main frame can be connected from other locations as well, such as the internet. No details of the actual actions to perform these hacks have been released.
Stefan Savage - one of the researchers pointed out that the issue with computer main frames in the car is similar to the times computers became to spread around the world in result more and more holes were found to hack computers. The problem in this case is that we're talking about people's lives which are put to danger if anyone decides to hack the car's main frame computer system. Stefan Savage recommends car manufacturers to re-think their protection strategy to ensure the system is fully protected.