Surprise! Hacking a Car Isn't Futuristic at All

  Picture this. You’re driving around a parking lot when all of a sudden your brakes stop working and you helplessly plow into another vehicle – all because someone hacked your car. It sounds unbelievable, but the threat is real. Today’s cars are little more than computers on wheels. Every vehicle features hundreds of electrical systems and modules tasked at handling integral functions, however individually these systems aren’t the brightest. The parts rarely authenticate where messages are coming from and are more-or-less interconnected with every other system on the car, meaning that if a hacker can tap into one system, the others aren’t too safe.
RELATED: See how Apple CarPlay is Changing the Driving Experience The latest wireless connectivity features in cars – the ones that allow seamless smartphone integration and vehicle monitoring – are helping to further the problem. Downloadable apps for in-car infotainment systems, among other wireless entry points, can offer hackers a backdoor to apply harmful malware to your vehicle and potentially take control of it.
Engineers have already proven that malicious yet effective car hacking is possible, as seen in the videos above, which were performed using obvious hardwire connections. But it goes to show that, with further advancement of technology, wireless hacking can take the personal invasion a step further. Automakers are hustling to shut the door on hackers though. Ford has built-in firewalls to deter tampering efforts. Toyota has added security chips to narrow the communication limits of its in-car systems. Tesla has even awarded some hackers who have tipped off the company to faults in its systems. Luckily, the industry realizes the problem, and outpacing the in-car invasion will be the automakers’ measure of success. As with all hacking, where there’s a gap in the fence, someone will try to get in. RELATED: Take a look at the Tesla Model X [via CNN Money]