Thursday, April 23, 2015

Is Car WiFi Risky?

Having WiFi in your car may seem like a great idea but is it really safe? While some security experts argue the danger is overstated, others say not so fast. Proponents of the technology will often point out that hacks allowing access to critical components such as brakes and steering typically require a physical connection to the vehicle. More frequently, a hacker would prefer wireless access but that requires bypassing the security network.

Posing as mechanics, experts testing car security were able to sign up for accounts on several automobile manufacturer sites to gain access to technical documents, wiring diagrams and how their network security worked. To assess the threat, the study focused first on wireless access features that could permit intrusions such as bluetooth, WiFi, keyless entry, cellular network connectivity and tire pressure monitoring. By studying how much these features were connected to more critical components such as automatic braking, lane assist and parking, they were able to gauge each security concern. The report found major vulnerabilities in Infiniti Q50, Jeep Cherokee, later Cadillac Escalade models and Toyota Prius.

It should be noted that the study is by no means definitive and their hands off speculative approach leaves many critics including myself. Nevertheless, the ease of which these technical documents were obtained is enough to merit concern that no automobile manufacturer should take lightly.

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