It seems we live in a day and age where carmakers believe drivers want to have vehicles that connect them to their phones and computers. As a result, automakers like Chrysler are basically turning vehicles into smartphones. There are several problems with that, such as drivers becoming more tempted to participate in distracting driving behaviors and hackers having the ability to gain access to a car’s computer system.
Shockingly, hackers have gotten access to vehicle systems – putting drivers at risk of being in car crashes. In fact, car hacking can occur wirelessly by someone sitting on a couch thousands of miles away. This thought is scary to say the least. Here are some of the things hackers can do to vehicles they access:
- Disable the brakes or abruptly engage the brakes
- Commandeer the steering wheel
- Cut the transmission
- Kill the engine
- Honk the horn
- Disengage the locks
- Turn on the windshield wipers
- Control the climate control settings
- Switch the radio station and turn up the volume
When any of these things happen, drivers can be left frantic and unable to control their cars. As a result, they may rear-end other vehicles, slide out of control, or cause other cars to rear-end them. What’s scary is that hackers can not only gain access to one vehicle, but they can access hundreds of thousands of vehicles. Not only can they cause one car accident, but they can cause mass car pileups that can create catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
What Cars Are Vulnerable to Being Hijacked by Hackers?
Not all cars are vulnerable to being hijacked. According to Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, two car-hacking researchers, there are over 471,000 vehicles that are vulnerable to being hacked. Based on their study, they rated the Jeep Cherokee as the most hackable model with Cadillac’s Escalade and Infiniti’s Q50 not far behind. Through their research and time studying vehicles’ software, they have discovered that hackers can send commands through a vehicle’s entertainment system and wirelessly take control of a vulnerable car.
While car manufacturers are looking for ways to boost security and protect against cyberattacks, there are still areas and hackable bugs in many vulnerable vehicles that can be accessed by hackers. Because of the seriousness of this issue, Washington is looking to get involved. In fact, there is a proposed bill that, if passed, would have the National Highway Traffic Security Administration form an advisory council to create cybersecurity standards for the auto industry. However, to date, there are no digital security standards in place for cars and trucks.
Because Miller and Valasek have shared their research with Chrysler, the company has developed a patch – a software update – to help protect against vulnerabilities. What this means for drivers of certain Jeep Cherokees and other Chrysler vehicles is they can go to the dealer for a software update to help protect against potential hacking vulnerabilities.
What You Can Do
What’s scary is that any modern vehicle could be vulnerable to being hijacked by hackers. If you want automakers to do more and increase their digital security to protect you and other drivers on the road, you can do something about it. Write your automaker and your congressman and make your voice heard.
If you have been harmed as a result of a car accident that was caused by a hacker or malfunctioning car part, you might have a legal claim against your automaker. To learn about your rights, contact the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in a free consultation today.