Vehicles 'increasingly vulnerable' to hacking, FBI warns

Software vulnerabilities in networked vehicle systems could create new risks

The FBI and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned on Thursday that the rising use of computers in vehicles poses increasing risks of cyberattacks.

The warning comes eight months after a high-profile demonstration published by Wired showed how a Jeep Cherokee could be remotely controlled over the Internet. Fiat Chrysler later recalled 1.4 million vulnerable vehicles.

Manufacturers see great promise in designing vehicles with advanced networking capabilities for everything from entertainment to fleet management.

But computer security experts have criticized the industry for not taking stronger steps to prevent software vulnerabilities that could have lethal consequences.

The FBI said that although manufacturers are now trying to limit the communications that can happen between different on-board systems, the linkages can still provide "portals through which adversaries may be able to remotely attack the vehicle controls and systems," the advisory said.

Third-party devices intended to be plugged into a vehicle diagnostic port can also "introduce vulnerabilities by providing connectivity where it did not exist previously," the agency said.

Some insurance companies offer telematic control units (TCUs) that plug into a vehicles' On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II) port. The unit can provide data to the insurance company, which can be used for risk profiling.

In August, University of California researchers showed how a dongle from Paris-based Mobile Devices Ingenierie could be remotely accessed. They were able to apply the brakes of a Corvette and turn on its windshield wipers. Mobile Devices Ingenierie issued a software update.

The FBI said consumers should pay attention if manufacturers issue software updates for their vehicles and also be cautious when connecting third-party devices.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?