Modern-day connected cars carry million lines of code. In fact, the technology is almost 100 times more powerful than Apollo 11, the first spacecraft that landed on moon. And experts have been stating that “Vehicle data could be the beginning of a modern-day gold rush.” But the vulnerability of car hacking was first demonstrated by hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, while the duo remotely took controls of a Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2015. The celebrated automotive ethical hackers now believe that auto industry is finally getting serious about cyber security.
In an interview with Which-50, Miller said “If we look at the demo that we did with the Jeep, I think that opened a lot of eyes that this is a problem that companies need to face. Everyone I’ve talked to in the industry sees it as a serious problem that they’re trying to address to the best of their abilities,” The duo spoke to the publication during the AISA conference held recently in Sydney.
Cars come with connected features to pair your personal device for several purposes like hands-free driving, access to infotainment, GPS, and maps. With standard cars generating 25 gigabytes of data per hour, enterprises may need to consider connected cars as an insider threat and its vulnerability to data theft.
According to them, automotive cybersecurity is no longer an afterthought but something very similar to how organizations now consider information security for organizations. “20, 25 years ago people didn’t think of web browsers as needing security,” Valasek said. “But now we know that a huge piece of end-user security is how secure the web browser is. This is where we are going with automobiles. “Just like we saw with Microsoft and other software companies it’s an iterative process and it will get better over time. At one point Microsoft was the insecure operating system. Now they’re doing a really good job of it. So it just takes time.”
The experts argued that remotely hacking cars within minutes are still a pipe dream. “It’s not something you can do on a weekend. It’s not something you have to worry about a bored teenager doing. It’s really difficult to do and it’s only ever been done for research purposes,” Miller said. “You have to remember that in the car industry it takes a long time to make changes, so the cars designed today won’t see the road for three or four years. And so it will take a while. But I think we are going to get there. Toasters will probably never be secure but hopefully, important things like pacemakers and cars will be.”