Warning: Your car might get hacked

Warning: Your car might get hacked

The FBI is warning drivers that they are at risk.

Federal authorities are issuing a warning to drivers: you could get hacked, putting your life at risk.

Months ago, security researchers proved that car hacking can be accomplished reasonably easily by shutting down a 2014 Jeep Cherokee while it was driving, and now the FBI is warning Americans that as cars become more and more digital, the hacking risk grows greatly, according to a Wired report.

The FBI has issued a public service announcement along with the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it’s possible to hack cars and trucks via the Internet — although there haven’t yet been any incidents of car hacking that authorities are aware of.

Modern cars have additional features made possible by the digital age, such as better safety features, improved fuel economy, and a number of comforts. But while these additions are popular with consumers, they are opening up more and more cars to security risks.

The FBI and DOT is advising people to keep automotive software up to date and pay attention to any recalls or security patches. Also, authorities advise people to avoid unauthorized changes to software in the vehicle.

“Vehicle hacking occurs when someone with a computer seeks to gain unauthorized access to vehicle systems for the purposes of retrieving driver data or manipulating vehicle functionality,” the statement from the government reads. “While not all hacking incidents may result in a risk to safety – such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle – it is important that consumers take appropriate steps to minimize risk. Therefore, the FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles.”

The statement adds: “Vulnerabilities may exist within a vehicle’s wireless communication functions, within a mobile device – such as a cellular phone or tablet connected to the vehicle via USB, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi – or within a third-party device connected through a vehicle diagnostic port. In these cases, it may be possible for an attacker to remotely exploit these vulnerabilities and gain access to the vehicle’s controller network or to data stored on the vehicle. Although vulnerabilities may not always result in an attacker being able to access all parts of the system, the safety risk to consumers could increase significantly if the access involves the ability to manipulate critical vehicle control system.”

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