Security experts told Reuters that car computers “are vulnerable to hacks by attackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on conversations, or even harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash” and that automakers have failed to protect these systems.
“You can definitely kill people,” said John Bumgarner, chief technology officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit told the wire service.
Two years ago, a group of U.S. computer scientists made waves by showing how viruses could damage cars when they were moving at high speeds. Last year, the same group issued a report that showed how computer worms and Trojans could be delivered to automobiles: Via onboard diagnostics systems, wireless connections and even tainted CDs.
Bruce Snell, a McAfee executive, said automakers are fairly concerned about the potential cyber attacks because of the frightening repercussions:
“If your laptop crashes you’ll have a bad day, but if your car crashes that could be life threatening. I don’t think people need to panic now. But the future is really scary.”