Why Car Hacking Has Been Overblown in the Media
In the last several months, 60 Minutes and other outlets (including us) have showcased how a tech-savvy individual with sinister intentions could hack into your car, and operate anything from the windshield wipers to the accelerator and brakes. It made for a dramatic show and interesting TV, but the reality of hacking into cars and what you should really be afraid of is way off from what you might see in primetime. When the 60 Minutes piece aired back in February, news outlets were running wild with the idea of hackers taking over your car on your daily commute and steering you off a bridge. But the fact is, studies like that were pretty much rigged for a specific result. The hacker’s laptop was hardwired into the car. You can do anything with the car in a situation like that. RELATED: Car Hacking Isn't Futuristic at All
In reality, it is not as simple as finding the car’s Bluetooth or XM frequency and gaining access to every one of the car’s systems. Many vehicle systems are separate from one another. You may be able to access the bus for the stereo, but that has been separated from other systems.
Some computer engineers argue that if hackers were capable enough and motivated enough, it could be possible to access multiple vehicle systems, but the manpower and equipment required to do so are quite considerable. You’d actually have to be a pretty important person in the eyes of a hacker to warrant that kind of digital offensive.
RELATED: Senate Report Warns Modern Cars Susceptible to Car Hacking
The only people that important are VIPs, and it is quite likely those particular folks have hardened security systems in vehicles that would negate those efforts (it is speculated the POTUS Beast has such digital defensed). In short, if you are important enough where someone would directly hack your car, there’s a good chance the car has been fortified for just such an attack.
You absolutely should be concerned about the technological security of your car, but not by malicious hackers. Just like your browsing data or those racy pics you swear you deleted, the real concern among drivers should be how your car’s data is being leveraged by automakers.
RELATED: Hackers Being Offered $10,000 to Hack a Tesla Model S
If you own an Impala or Silverado, do you want Chevrolet taking your radio presets, driving routes and other bits of metadata and selling them to the highest bidder? Do you want Chevy to sell it to Starbucks so the coffee giant knows which locations you drive by? This sort of data is valuable, but it should also be private. As we move into the brave new world of the connected car, be prepared for your personal data to be pimped out by the company that made your car. That is the real security threat in your daily commute.
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