Over the past several decades, cars have become increasingly high tech allowing for computers to take larger roles in the routine functions of the car. Computerized functions have been a boon to consumers, who advantage from greater reliability and efficiency, but also to criminal hackers who advantage from greater vulnerability.
Starting around the turn of the last decade tech enthusiasts started toying around with the concept of hacking into cars. So-called “white hat” hackers, who seek out exploits in technology so companies can fix them, successfully attempted to remotely disable a sedan’s breaks and allowed for companies to take hacking into consideration when developing future models.
Notably, a study done by two researchers discovered a vulnerability in Fiat Chrysler’s vehicles which caused a massive recall of 1.4 million vehicles. After the incident, the company created a tool for car owners to constantly check for updates available to make their car safer whenever the Chryslers become aware of a threat.
The trend has become so troubling to automakers that most auto companies nowemploy entire firms dedicated to attempting to find exploits in their cars’ software. Tesla recently profited from employing such efforts when Keen Security Lab was able to remotely take over a Tesla Model S car. Due to the alert afforded by the security team’s efforts Tesla was able to create and distribute a patch immediately before any nefarious parties could take action with the flaw.
The common theme between all these examples is the company seeking out flaws in its own technology so as to better serve consumers and ensure greater safety for the public. To the public’s knowledge no…