The new traffic dangers: car hacking


It started as an trend in luxury the luxury car business but nowadays more and more cars don’t have an key anymore. The door isn’t opened and closed by a key anymore and the engine doesn’t starts with a key but with a button. The technology transformation in the car industry is taking on a next level. More and more cars of every class are equipped with new technology, a technology very popular in the automotive industry is internet. But is internet technology safe?

“When a car is connected to the internet it becomes a computer on wheels” and computers can be hacked. There are numerous of examples of cars getting hacked and some of them led to dangerous situations on the road. Hackers for example hacked a JEEP on the highway. The car was doing 70 mph when others shut it down. They could control a lot of systems in the car like the air control system, wipers etc (Wired, 2015).

Because the systems that use internet are more and more integrated with the other systems, hacking a car becomes a real treat. Cars and trucks are important for our everyday life, they supply stores and deliver packages, bring people to work, a lot of people are dependent on their car. This makes cars and trucks interesting for hackers.

To protect cars against the treat of hackers they need a system that is updated frequently like a computer system, this way the system can be protected against newly discovered flaws in the system. The system with the internet access needs to be separated from essential functions like acceleration, breaks and the lights, or the communication between the systems needs to be controlled and minimized. The manufacturer needs to secure each software component so that access to all system at once is impossible.

Besides the steps that can be taken by manufacturers within the car, outside the car some manufacturers like Tesla are also trying to identify problems before they exist. Tesla launches the “Bug Bounty” program. Via this program they ask hackers to find the weak spots or flaws in the system before others do.

Not everybody agrees with the treat of car hacking, some people think the treat is exaggerated, but I think it is a real issue and the automotive industry should pay attention to the cyber security of cars.


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