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Unlocking Computer Technology In Our Vehicles

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On: Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 4:41PM | By: Karen Cook

Unlocking Computer Technology In Our Vehicles

With all the new computer technology in our vehicles driving has never been safer, right? I mean, our cars can see other cars on the road and help us avoid accidents we didn’t even see coming. They can brake for us, keep us in our lane, and keep us from backing over anything or anyone. Soon there will be those automotive wonders that drive all by themselves. So it’s all tidy, safe, and secure. Maybe not.

A couple of decades ago if you wanted to get into a car you either needed the key, a coat hanger, or something heavy to throw through the window. Today though, there is no need for such up close attention to have an impact on someone’s vehicle. All computers can potentially be hacked, including the ones in our cars.

Cyber criminals could possibly get into your car’s brain and tell it to do things you don’t want it to do with lethal results. Back in 2010 when all this new technology was becoming more common a group of computer scientists here in the United States began trying to hack vehicles. They did it and were able to control lights, locks, and, most frighteningly, brake systems in the car they studied. They have not released the make or model. This report prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to launch a study of its own.

The US government is now involved and letters have been sent to several automakers asking them how they plan to curtail cyber attacks on their product. The manufacturers included GM, Chrysler, Ford, and others. As of this writing they have no firm answer but they are reviewing the information presented to them and presumably working on a solution. So far, there have been no attacks of this sort on any cars owned by the public or any commercial vehicle.

I commend the government and auto manufacturers for getting ahead of this terrifying threat. I’ve seen the video games teenagers play. I certainly don’t want one driving my car for me while he’s thinking about Grand Theft Auto.


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