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Data Doctors

Updated Jul 22, 2015 - 10:48 am

Car hacking just became a real concern for millions of drivers

Q: How worried should I be about my new car that has Wi-Fi getting hacked?

The security industry has warned car manufacturers about the growing dangers of adding customer convenience technology without a strong focus on security. The race to have all the coolest features could put customers at risk and now two prominent security researchers have unequivocally proven it.

Their previous proof of concept hacks in 2013 required physical access to the vehicle, which caused the auto industry to shrug it off as not likely to happen.

This caused the security experts to focus on newer cars that included Internet connectivity, which they found to be much more exposed.

Car hacking just got real

A recent Wired article showed just how vulnerable cars equipped with the Uconnect technology are to being remotely hacked.

Unlike previous demonstrations that required the hackers to be in the back seat, they showed how a computer in the basement of a house 10 miles away could wreak havoc on a Jeep Cherokee driving on a St. Louis freeway. They were able to remotely control everything from the climate control system to the windshield wipers and entertainment system before showing the really disconcerting part of the hack.

They were able to cut the transmission so that the car no longer could accelerate and, even worse, cut the Jeep’s brakes and make minor steering changes, which caused the test car to slide into a ditch.

The researchers also showed they could track the vehicle using GPS coordinates, so privacy issues are also in play.

They’ve been working with Chrysler for the past nine months to fix the vulnerability, which has resulted in a patch.

What you should to to protect your vehicle


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