Las Vegas, January 10
As cars evolve into rolling mobile computers, the potential for disastrous cyber attacks has become a new road hazard.
Moments into the virtual drive, a GuardKnox engineer playing the role of hacker struck and the steering wheel no longer controlled the speeding car.
The faux race was over for the driver, stuck on the side of the road in a scenario that cybersecurity specialists say could become very real.
New car models are packed with computer chips, sensors and mobile technology that hackers could exploit to sabotage systems or commandeer controls.
Opportunities for attacks are being revved up by the trend of self-driving, electric cars communicating in real-time with the cloud, smart city infrastructures, and one another.
GuardKnox Chief Executive Moshe Shlisel gave an example of a hacker remotely taking control of a fuel tanker truck, sending it to crash into a building.
“It’s September 11 on wheels,” Shlisel said in an interview at CES.
Cybersecurity has become as integral to vehicle engineering as crash safety and fuel efficiency, according to Henry Bzeih, a former member of the Council for Automobile Cybersecurity, who spoke at the Las Vegas event.
“Connectivity is the reason why this is happening,” Bzeih said. “Now, all elements have to be designed with cybersecurity in mind.”
Anything is possible
Israeli start-up Upstream logged more than 150 cybersecurity incidents involving automobiles last year, twice as many as in 2018.
The majority of those hacks involve remotely car door locks, but an increasing number targeted software applications or connections to the cloud.
Last year in Chicago, dozens of luxury cars were stolen by hacking Daimler’s Car2Go app.
“The ultimate worst-case scenario would be if somebody applies one of the car functions