Hackers can control your computerized car, time to scream in terror

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In the years to come, your car will likely be a full-blown computer running on either Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, or a yet-unknown contender. Even today, many cars are heavily computerized. This also means your precious little computer on wheels might have problems with hackers.

Security researchers have shown, in a recent demonstration, how they can jerk the steering wheel of a car, shutdown the engine, or even gaining access to your brake system. All this is done from a mere laptop, which should make you worried if you own a computerized car. To be clear, this isn’t remote hacking: the laptop requires to be directly connected to the car to take control. However, the researchers demonstrated how the laptop can be connected to various different nodes in the car and still gain access, such as the diagnostic port under the dashboard, the CD player, the tire pressure monitoring system, and cell phone/Bluetooth connections.

On top that of, as car manufacturers add wireless connections to cars (such as internet access), remote hacking will soon become a reality.

According to The Big Story, all cars and trucks tested have up to 70 computers inside, which are directly linked to the brakes, engine, steering wheel, doors, and other important parts of the vehicle. While they do control a lot of tiny computers, the cars these hackers were able to be controlled are not yet fully computerized, so it is easy to imagine the damages a lone hacker could do when that time comes.

“We could control steering, braking, acceleration to a certain extent, seat belts, lights, horn, speedometer, gas gauge,” said Chris Valasek, director of intelligence at a computer security-consulting firm in Pittsburgh.

The report claims that even though these cars have computerized systems installed, manufacturers failed to add any form of security measures to the ports that allowed the hackers to gain access. If you’re planning on taking a drive down the freeway in your computerized car right now, be afraid, be very afraid. (That is a joke, don’t flame me.)

Let’s hope car manufacturers take this issue seriously, because people are going to lose their lives, or some of us could simply mimic the world of Watchdogs.

[via The Big Story, image via Planet Gargoyle]

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