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Is Your Car at Risk of Hacking?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  January 12, 2015

If you’ve driven a new car recently, you’ve probably noticed that it came with a dizzying array of technological advances. Spoken commands, GPS, Bluetooth music and video, and much more can be found in almost every new vehicle. Not only that, but downloadable apps for commerce, traffic, and weather conditions are coming into play as well. And these are just extra features: everything from the brakes to the engine can have some kind of digital integration. Some cars can even drive and park themselves!

Ultimately, we can hope that these advancements in car technology can lead to safer and more informed experiences on the road, but what if all the results of these features aren’t positive? What if these new technologies open a window for malicious manipulation of your vehicle, even when you’re right behind the wheel? Lawmakers and car manufacturers are already anticipating this kind of threat, known as car hacking.

Is car hacking a real threat?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is trying to stay a few steps ahead of the possible threat of car hacking. In 2013, the NHTSA established the Electronics Systems Safety Research Division to help create standards and to counsel car manufacturers to create technologies resistant to hacking. The Electronics Systems Safety Research Division has already identified a number of vulnerabilities new cars have that hackers could potentially exploit.

According to BBC’s CARTECH‘s article, “Car-hacking gets real“, these vulnerabilities are:

  • USB ports
  • Mobile networks
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle technology (V2V)
  • Vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G)
  • Autonomous (self-driving) vehicles
  • Internet connections

Is technology moving faster than lawmakers?

Despite the efforts of the Electronic Systems Safety Research Division, there have already been wrinkles in the effort to sync legislation with new car technology. As BBC’s CARTECH points out, the division has advised against the allowing self-driving vehicles, but several states – California included – have already allowed them.

The challenge going forward will be making sure that lawmakers, car manufacturers, and third-party technology developers continue to communicate, collaborate, and create safeguards that keep consumer automobiles immune from malicious hacking. The question is, with the breakneck pace at which technology moves, can legislation really keep up? As Rewrite‘s “Car Hacking Gets in Gear” reports, Ford’s own data scientists estimate that new cars currently produce and use about 25 GB worth of data––an impressive amount that shows no signs of slowing down.

If you believe that your automobile’s technology has been compromised due to manufacturer negligence, it’s important that you speak to a dedicated California lemon law attorney. Contact Norman Taylor & Associates today to discuss your situation!

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