By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — What could be fertile new ground for computer criminals may be as close as your driveway.
By the end of the decade, most new cars are expected to roll off the lot with WiFi. Vehicles already are mobile computers, but when you put their command, control, and maintenance online, you open wider the door to hackers.
“They can take control of the braking system, they can take control of the acceleration system, the steering, and various other systems,” says auto expert George Polgar with GT Marketing in Philadelphia. “You do have to worry about the fact that the hacker can get in there and really disrupt the operation of a car.”
Despite the obstacles for would-be attackers — “the technology is relatively new and the systems are relatively individualized,” explains Polgar — as the tech becomes more common, so will the threats.
“Being able to steal cars on a larger scale with less risk,” Polgar says. “Or, if someone wanted to target the entire commercial trucking fleet that moves food and clothing and all kinds of consumer products coast to coast, it would not be a real stretch to have some very smart hacking group get in and en masse disable or tamper with that network — misdirecting them, slowing them down, or stopping them altogether.”
Or even take control of the pedals or steering on our rides. He says even that remote possibility is top-of-mind as automakers build IT security teams to keep hackers in the rearview mirror.