The modern automobile is a microcosm for our networked society. Everything from the brakes to the dual-zone climate control and from the windscreen wipers to the CD player is connected through a Controller-Area-Network (CAN) bus.
Like the nerves in our bodies, this network passes information from one component to another. It allows the anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control to work in unison, disconnects the cruise control when you step on the accelerator and allows the headlights to switch themselves on in low light conditions.
Like all networks, however, the ones in our cars are vulnerable to attack from hackers. Last year, researchers with the Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS) at the University of California San Diego and the University of Washington demonstrated how a car could be hacked through its ODB-II port.
Totally important and valid point.
The counterpoint to this is that cars have always been vulnerable to attack. Screwdrivers in tumblers, hotwiring, slim jims. Those are yesterday’s tools.
Today’s have gotten more sophisticated is all.