Monday, December 9, 2013

Car hacking: Remote possibility, looming fear

WASHINGTON -- In a world in which hackers track computer keystrokes to steal credit card numbers and the government snoops on phone calls and e-mails, it's not so hard to imagine a laptop-wielding bad guy remotely wresting control of a car and wreaking havoc.
Car hacking has become a staple of Hollywood action movies, such as this year's Fast & Furious 6, in which the villains take over cars' electronics in order to crash them. It is also becoming an obsession on Capitol Hill, even though there has never been a documented case of a car being maliciously hacked in the real world.
That kind of spotlight from Congress and the media could prod the industry to take the threat of hacking more seriously, but it could just as well terrify the public before the industry has a chance to do much about it.
That would be bad news for automakers, which over the next few years want to create a unified mobile communications network, a so-called Internet of cars, to help prevent crashes and deliver a host of new in-vehicle services.
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