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A team of hackers working for security company McAfee is one of a small number of firms considering the ways to protect electric vehicles (EVs) from security threats.
A team of hackers working for security company McAfee is one of a small number of firms considering the ways to protect electric vehicles (EVs) from security threats, Reuters reports.
Automakers may be jumping at the chance to fit cars with a number of gizmos aimed at enticing consumers, including wireless connections and dashboard apps, but as these vehicles use the same wireless technology that mobile devices and personal computers use, they are also vulnerable to the same security flaws.
The consequences of remote attacks have serious consequences. From theft to eavesdropping on conversations, if a car's security is compromised, it could also confuse navigation systems and potentially cause accidents.
Due to this, McAfee's team are working in a West Coast garage to discover electric bugs that could not only disrupt car manufacture and development, but compromise the security of the general public.
To date, there have been no severe attacks on EVs through viruses. However, as governments push consumers to switch to energy-saving car models -- including the release of comparative tools -- and major dealers including Ford investing millions in EV development, the problem has the potential to become serious.
Ford spokesman Alan Hall told the publication that security engineers were currently making their Sync in-vehicle communications and entertainment system as resistant to remote attacks as possible.
"Ford is taking the threat very seriously and investing in security solutions that are built into the product from the outset," he said.
McAfee executive Bruce Snell said:
"If your laptop crashes you'll have a bad day, but if your car crashes that could be life threatening. I don't think people need to panic now. But the future is really scary."
Recent reports have predicted that electric vehicle sales across the globe will top 130 million by 2025.
This post originally appeared on CNET.
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Aug 20, 2012
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The EV is not commercially viable and now this. Why spend $50K on a car that can be compromised and put your family at risk ! Really....we need this level of electronics in a car ? No thank you ! My car will not be on the Internet !
Not fair to slap that Virus scare on EVs only. Every other "tech. savy" car out there have the same threat hovering over its head. I'm safe for now, the most advance tech I have in my '99 is my after market bluetooth capable radio. =0p
FMC Engineers know how to choose an Embeded RT OS (...), nice try Ford, keep playing (what was the word? praying? trying?)
Once there are enough EVs on the road not paying gasoline taxes, the government is going to have to track you in order to assess for your usage of the roads. It's just a matter of time.
about methods of tracking. The vehicle could report its miles when connected to a recharger and not have to expose the drivetrain systems to wireless. There are also other protocols aside from 'ethernet' and they do not exist on inexpensive mass-produced circuitry. DECnet is an old one but consider it as a robust example. It can be made to use the same physical stuff but it won't go through an ethernet router at all. Real time tracking of everyone vis some kind of universal wireless system would present advantages for those who know how to use a coaxial switch. cloaking device engaged. It'll be a long time before the government starts road-taxing amything that is touted for ecology. I'd bet that the miles will eventually be reported when recharging. Its simpler and most homes and businesses have access. It would also be harder for EV drivers to hide miles because the same computer that talks to the charger would be handshaking with the 'odometer'. The whole thing could be used to keep track of data for the manufacturer's warranty and service interval requirements.