Vehicles 'increasingly vulnerable' to hacking, FBI warns

Software vulnerabilities in networked vehicle systems could create new risks

The FBI and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned on Thursday that the rising use of computers in vehicles poses increasing risks of cyberattacks.

The warning comes eight months after a high-profile demonstration published by Wired showed how a Jeep Cherokee could be remotely controlled over the Internet. Fiat Chrysler later recalled 1.4 million vulnerable vehicles.

Manufacturers see great promise in designing vehicles with advanced networking capabilities for everything from entertainment to fleet management.

But computer security experts have criticized the industry for not taking stronger steps to prevent software vulnerabilities that could have lethal consequences.

The FBI said that although manufacturers are now trying to limit the communications that can happen between different on-board systems, the linkages can still provide "portals through which adversaries may be able to remotely attack the vehicle controls and systems," the advisory said.

Third-party devices intended to be plugged into a vehicle diagnostic port can also "introduce vulnerabilities by providing connectivity where it did not exist previously," the agency said.

Some insurance companies offer telematic control units (TCUs) that plug into a vehicles' On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II) port. The unit can provide data to the insurance company, which can be used for risk profiling.

In August, University of California researchers showed how a dongle from Paris-based Mobile Devices Ingenierie could be remotely accessed. They were able to apply the brakes of a Corvette and turn on its windshield wipers. Mobile Devices Ingenierie issued a software update.

The FBI said consumers should pay attention if manufacturers issue software updates for their vehicles and also be cautious when connecting third-party devices.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?