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FREMONT, CA: As connected vehicle technology advances towards the ultimate goal of being fully autonomous, they are picking up more and more of the characteristics associated with IoT. Vehicles with sensors interpreting the environment are being created with the help of applications designed to enhance the driving experience and open up new possibilities. And all of the applications are available through internet connectivity. With built-in sensors, connected vehicles are the logical extension of the IoT revolution, in which associated applications handle many of the chores for which the driver was formerly responsible.
The Vulnerability of Connected Vehicles:
Like other IoT systems, connected vehicles are vulnerable to hacking, data corruption, and remote hijacking. The outcome of a malware attack on a connected vehicle will not be just a break in data collection or even information theft. A compromised connected vehicle could well cause the death and injury of dozens. However, hacking a vehicle would seem to be a far more tricky operation than a refrigerator or a baby monitor, but the method of the attack in both cases are remarkably similar. Like other IoT devices, vehicles download and upload data through a cellular or local network. So, a hacker uses the same procedure to reach a device that could enable them to reach a vehicle, too.
Vehicles have plentiful attack vectors. A hacker can exploit a vehicle through its infotainment system, USB connection, Bluetooth connection, and of course its cellular network, either built into the vehicle or via its cell phone connection. Instructions on this and many other hacks are publicly available.
Protection of Connected Vehicles:
It is needless to say that the cost of hacking into a “moving IoT device" could be much more serious than that of a stationary one. With higher stakes comes a much superior need to ensure security. Regrettably, security is another area where IoT devices, in general, are not differentiated from computers and networks. One way could be for manufacturers to install intrusion detection systems that would constantly check the vehicle’s electronic systems for unusual activity. Manufacturers have been working to build better and more advanced security systems to protect vehicles.