The addition and innovation of on-board computers within cars, allowing for remote control of certain controls and features, inevitably led to unauthorised access. It was only a matter of time before hackers would find a way to access the computer remotely, potentially setting a dangerous precedent for any further implementations of remote access to cars. UConnect, the internet enabled software, is designed for users to simply connect wirelessly via a smartphone application to control certain features of their car, including the GPS, windscreen wipers, lights, all the way to important features such as braking, steering and the engine. This would be disastrous if it got into the wrong hands. As car owners warned as hackers take control, security experts have called for owners to update their software.
The hack was discovered and demonstrated by a team of security experts, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, who showed how it was possible to hack the car remotely, just by using a laptop and a mobile phone. A third person, sat in the car and experienced the hack, being completely helpless to the intrusion. The car was a Jeep Cherokee and have warned users to make sure their software is up to date, in order to prevent any possible hacks. The researchers notified the car manufacturers nine months ago in private to ensure a fix can be implemented before news spread of the vulnerability. Fiat Chrysler have since released a patch, but are unable to apply the fix automatically, so all drivers are urged to visit the website and download the fix, download it to a USB stick and apply it through the in-car USB socket. It is not known whether the glitch is confined to the software itself, the on-board computer or certain models, but all customers are advised to implement the update just in case.
As with any technology that uses the internet to transmit information then the threat of unauthorised access is very real, and something that developers and manufacturers have to be wary off, and of course so do customers. With the rise of advanced computers implemented in everyday machines, all to make life easier, the risk simply grows with the progression of the technology. It is only a matter of time before self-driving cars take over the roads, and what has already been seen, the risk of remote hacking is a serious one, and hopefully something that can be combated. efficiently.
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