A joint research team at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington have found a way to hack into cars with an onboard computer, prompting a new wave of safety and security concerns for the auto industry. As cars become more complex, auto warranties become a necessary investment to protect against damage.
Many new car models come with some type of computer system for navigation and other features. The researchers can gain complete control of a vehicle, and demonstrated killing the engine, destabilizing the brakes, turning the radio and climate control on and off, and even locking the driver in their own car, according to BusinessWeek.
The team wants the auto industry to take steps to prevent such tampering as cars become more sophisticated. “We think this is an industry issue,” said Stefan Savage, one of the researchers.
While the current method for hacking is cumbersome and impractical, the researchers found there were few safeguards in place to prevent hacking. In addition, computer systems control many of the safety features in the latest vehicles, making the results of hacking dramatic.
The team warned that attacks on cars in this fashion are years away from becoming a possibility. But the failure of a computer system now could mean the breakdown of your car, unless you’re covered with a bumper-to-bumper warranty.