Hollywood in the past, has already honed in on the potential risk of cars being hacked, with movies like The Fate of the Furious depicting super-villains sowing chaos by steering hundreds of hacked cars through New York City. But as movie makers let their imaginations run wild, manufacturers, governments and tech companies around the globe have stayed firmly rooted in reality.
But as things stand today, hacking a car still remains difficult, and a city full of nothing but automated vehicles is probably decades away. While it is important to lay a strong foundation for the the upcoming changes in the future, all major stakeholders acknowledge that complacency would be dangerous. The computer systems embedded in cars on the road right now have already proven vulnerable. And some of those vulnerabilities will persist when humans move out of the driver’s seat.
These vehicles collect a vast amount of data and could be the target of hackers who want to use the vehicles for nefarious purposes.
– Senate, Canada
Last month, Canada’s Senate released a long-awaited report into automated vehicles, and cyber-security was one of the central themes. The report revealed that government regulations and coordination hasn’t kept pace. One of the key vulnerabilities highlighted in normal cars is the CAN bus – an internal network that functions like the car’s central nervous system. This was just one amongst the many.
The senators made several recommendations linked to the federal government’s role in tightening cyber-security for driverless car. Their suggestions included developing guiding principles and advice for industry, promoting public education and setting up “a real-time crisis connect network” to deal with hacks.