When Autos Attack

A couple of months ago, DARPA Dan made news during a 60 Minutes profile when he showed how scientists could hack into a car’s computer, making it move independently of the driver. Senator Ed Markey got so worked up that he announced new proposed legislation to set standards for “protection against digital attacks and privacy.”

Well, this ought to get Markey excited. It has happened again. “Former National Security Agency hacker Charlie Miller, now at Twitter, and IOActive researcher Chris Valasek,” Reuters reports, “used a feature in the Fiat Chrysler telematics system Uconnect to break into a car being driven on the highway by a reporter for technology news site”

Whether this is a real threat that requires more red-tape regulations from Washington is a hot debate topic. There is an argument that hacks like these are more publicity stunts than real science.

That said, there are already folks out there peddling cyber security for sedans. A grassroots cyber advocacy group recently published its Five Star Automotive Cyber Safety Program.

Serious or silly, this is an issue that is likely going to get more attention as the auto and cyber worlds collide.

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