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Security Issues of Self-driving Cars on our Roads

5th February 2014

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Security issues raised in the article Self-driving Cars Irresistible to Hackers on The Guardian website may not strictly be our normal area of expertise at CYFOR. However, there is a computer involved and the article does pose interesting questions regarding the risks of self-driving cars reaching our roads.

In the article Eddie Schwartz, Vice President of global security solutions for Verizon’s enterprise subsidiary, warns that self-driving cars will be an irresistible targets for hackers if they ever arrive on our roads. The article also mentions an occasion when researchers demonstrated the potential to hack current self-driving car models.

In response…

There is the potential for this security concern to be true, but you would hope that the technology is instigated flawlessly before it could ever be used on public roads. In the wider sense, we might have to interpret the controlling computer the same way as we do GPS or Cell Site Analysis, as well as all the normal computer stuff such as pictures, movies, internet, email, etc.

The nightmare posed by the article, if for example a hacking group was able to stop a city by disabling or re-routing all or even a percentage of vehicle traffic, is one many can only imagine being in a movie – but this is the potential of the technology if the security measures in place are not flawless.

You would imagine that the manufacturer will end up being ultimately culpable for ensuring the safety of the user of the vehicles, and any hacking of an automated drive system would certainly be classified as a life threatening flaw in the product.

For now, we will have to wait and see if the technology will arrive on our roads and if there would be any security flaws open to hacking.

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