A growing threat: Car hacking

May 27, 2015

published 5-26-15

A string of high-profile hacks — the most recent on President Obama’s personal email account — have made cybercrime an ever-growing concern in the United States. Despite the publicity, most people still think of hacking as something which is done only to information systems like computers and mobile devices. In reality, hacking is no longer confined to the information world. The level of automation in modern physical systems means that even everyday automobiles are now vulnerable to hacking. Researchers are now looking into the growing threat of automotive hacking. “More and more in your everyday life you see that we’re automating physical systems,” one researcher says. “And unlike an information system, a physical system could kill you by accident.”

A string of high-profile hacks — the most recent on President Obama’s personal email account — have made cybercrime an ever-growing concern in the United States. Despite the publicity, most people still think of hacking as something which is done only to information systems like computers and mobile devices.

In reality, hacking is no longer confined to the information world. The level of automation in modern physical systems means that even everyday automobiles are now vulnerable to hacking.

On Friday, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe announced a public-private working groupto address the threat of automotive hacking. A U.Va. release reports that the University of Virginia, the Virginia State Police, and the Charlottesville security firm Mission Secure Inc. will play key roles in conducting this joint research project between various government agencies and private firms.

McAuliffe appointed Barry Horowitz, professor and chair of U.Va.’s Department of Systems and Information Engineering, as a member of the Virginia Cyber Security Commissionin 2014, and Horowitz will help oversee the new research project.

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