Automakers are producing new cars increasingly vulnerable to hackers, which could result in thousands of deaths in the event of a mass cyberattack, according to an Advocacy Group.
“Kill Switch: Why Connected Cars Can Be Killing Machines And How To Turn Them Off,” is a new report that has come out. The Los Angeles-based Consumer Watchdog said cars connected to the internet are quickly becoming the norm but constitute a national security threat.
“Industry technologies have linked these vehicles’ safety-critical systems to the internet. Precautions to adequate security and with no way to disconnect them in the event of a fleet-wide hack,” the report said is a troubling issue.
The report also states that industry executives chose for corporate profit instead of car safety. The industry executives are aware of the risk. They were nonetheless pushing ahead in deploying the technology.
More than 20 whistleblowers within the car industry helped with a study to create the report. A hack at rush hour could have serious consequences could leave three thousand people dead.
New Cars With ‘Dangerous design’
“You can control all sorts of aspects of your car from your smartphone, including starting the engine, starting the air conditioning, checking on its location,” said one of the whistleblowers.
Anybody else can go over the internet and is the same that anybody else can do.
The advice is that all connected vehicles should get an internet kill switch. These new designs should be separated from internet-connected systems, such as infotainment systems.
“Connecting safety-critical systems to the internet is inherently dangerous design,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.
“American car makers need to end the practice, or Congress must step in to protect our transportation system and our national security.”
Company Representatives from several of the car companies mentioned in the report, including GM, Toyota and Ford, could not be reached for comment.
Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the leading advocacy group for the auto industry, said that the report was at creating hype ahead of a cybersecurity event in Las Vegas.
Cybersecurity is A Priority For Every Industry.
“Today, cybersecurity is a priority to every industry using computer systems, including automobiles,” she said in a statement to AFP.
“Automakers are taking many protective actions, including designing vehicles from the start with security features and adding cybersecurity measures to new and redesigned models.”
Bergquist added that consumers must also be vigilant to avoid falling prey to hackers.
“Consumers should exercise good cyber hygiene in all they do, including properly pairing a phone to a car, deleting phone data from rental cars (if paired), and being active in doing the maintenance and updates as requested for phones and vehicles,” she said.
© Agence France-Presse
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