Criminal gangs could hack connected vehicles on the road: report

Drivers of luxury vehicles could end up getting 'hacked' by criminal gangs even while they drove their vehicles. Permanent connections to the internet found in high-end luxury cars could give criminals the opportunity to interfere with the safety systems of cars, even while it is driving along the road, AA president Edmund King said in a stark warning issued today.

Mail Online quoted King as saying that the next generation safety systems would include a 'Co-operative Intelligent Transport System' where cars would be able talk to each other, cutting the chance of road traffic accidents.

King fears that cyber criminals could hack into this network to deliberately compromise safety, he said, adding that in-car internet connections could also suffer virus infection.

Modern technology had led to increase in car crime, which had been declining since its peak in the early 1990s, when thieves needed only a screwdriver to go about their business, King said.

King told the Times that with people getting connected car, that are connected to the internet 24 hours a day, cyber-criminals could target automobiles like they were targeting other things it would be a hard ride for all. The more cars relied on technology, the more there was to get at, he added.

Meanwhile, The Independent reported that safety and security features could be exploited by hackers to steal information, extort money or even control vehicles.

Modern cars came with internet connections and wireless networks to allow for music streaming, internet searches and news updates.

According to experts, these could be used by hackers to access and control a vehicle's systems, including steering, braking and acceleration.

According to King, at a stage there could be a terrorist-type threat to transport systems. He added though that stage had not arrived yet, it was something that needed to be addressed.

It had already been shown in demonstrations that it was possible to access the internal computer systems of a car, known as the Controller Area Network (CAN), through a car radio or Bluetooth and wireless networks.

Washington and California university researchers were able to connect to a car's CAN via laptop and unlock doors, open the trunk, accelerate and brake, honk the horn, switch the headlights on and off, change the speedometer and fuel gauge and cause the car to swerve.