Cyber Jacking – how much of a problem is it going to become?
Picture this scenario: You park in a multi-storey car-park and spend the morning buying presents in town, then leave them safe in the car while you go out to lunch. But seconds after you walk away, the car boot springs open and a thief simply walks up and takes all of your purchases. It may sound unlikely, but the truth is thefts like these are not only possible, they’re becoming more common.
Every modern car contains dozens of miniature computers, and miles of electronic wiring which makes them vulnerable to sophisticated hacking. And just as they target computers, the hackers are looking for control – of your vehicle. Trouble is, that can be a lot more dangerous with a car than with your laptop. It’s thought that viruses or malware could be delivered by diagnostic systems, wireless connections, even via CDs in the stereo.
Security experts are increasingly warning of the threat of malicious hacks and many manufacturers are spending money on trying to identify risky areas, but it’s been estimated they are around 20 years behind cyber-security firms in their progress.
Many vehicles are vulnerable due to a lack of awareness by manufacturers in recent years about the risks presented –
- Cars can be stolen
- Confidential communications could be intercepted
- Cars could even by caused to crash – although there’s no evidence this has happened to date, a scary U.S study showed it could be possible
- Cars can be opened to allow goods to be taken
Think it sounds implausible? Then consider that an F1 team had a car stricken with malware this year, or that TomTom found its navigation devices could be infected in 2007.
Expect anti-virus software to become standard in new cars in the near future and always remember if leaving high-value goods in your car that it may no longer be safe to do so.