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The Attack of the Killer Cars! By Brian Simpson

     I hope that readers are still in holiday mode, because this one shocked even sleepy old me: your high tech car can be hacked and used by terrorists!

“Your laptops, computers, smartphones, or smart appliances are not the only things that are susceptible to hacking. Modern cars could be remotely hacked by terrorists and turned into lethal weapons, a computer scientist has warned. The warning was made by Justin Cappos from New York University. Cappos has stated that cyber criminals working for enemy states could hack and remotely control any car built after 2005 to turn them into weapons that could kill millions of people. Even some cars that were manufactured as far back as 2000 could be susceptible to hacking. “Many of our enemies are nuclear powers, but any nation with the ability to launch a cyberstrike could kill millions of civilians by hacking cars. It’s daunting,” Cappos expressed. Cappos explained that once hackers are connected to the network, they can communicate with any device and can send messages to the brakes to stop and turn off the power steering. He added that car components would not be able to identify where the messages were coming from and would not be able to tell if these messages were true.”

     Could this be right? Could the Holden (remember them?) be made into a “bomb”? I checked the primary sources, and yep, it seems to be true:

“Terrorist hackers working for enemy states could turn cars into killing machines, a security expert has warned. Any car built after 2005 is an 'open door' to hackers and could be remotely controlled to obliterate 'millions of civilians', a researcher has found. Even some vehicles up to 17 years old could be vulnerable to attack and unless car makers fix the problem deaths in the next five years are inevitable. Hackers may already be causing accidents without authorities knowing, he says. The warning was made by Justin Cappos, a computer scientist at New York University. Dr Cappos says this vulnerability should be treated as an 'urgent' national security issue, writes The Times. 'If there was a war or escalation with a country with strong cybercapability, I would be very afraid of hacking of vehicles.' 'Many of our enemies are nuclear powers but any nation with the ability to launch a cyberstrike could kill millions of civilians by hacking cars. It's daunting.' Once in the car, Dr Cappos warned hackers can send messages that stop the brakes working and turn of power steering.

     What then can we do about this? Probably nothing, for most of us are not important enough for our cars to be hacked. But, in the event of a major SHTF event, such as a cyber war, just keep in the back of your mind this article, and the possible threat; you know on the ever-expanding threat list, which should be about a mile long now.



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Friday, 10 July 2020
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