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Are Modern Automated Cars Vulnerable to Hackers? Are Modern Automated Cars Vulnerable to Hackers?
News | 02/26/2019

Are Modern Automated Cars Vulnerable to Hackers?

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Are Modern Automated Cars Vulnerable to Hackers?

If a physical module is connected to the internet, it can be targeted with a cyber-attack.

Thus, with tens of millions of connected cars on the highway today – and hundreds of millions of them expected to be by 2019 – threats to the safety and privacy of motorists, passengers, and bystanders are set to grow substantially.

While connectivity can be (and already is being) used to make us safer, more prolific and amused while in travel, it creates an attack surface through which hackers could get access to the vehicle’s delicate Controller Area Network (CAN) bus.

Once inside, cyber-attackers may be able to send malicious commands to the vehicle from a remote location in order to steal private and corporate data, track individual vehicles or entire fleets and take-over non-safety and safety-critical functions.

But it could be a lot worse – what if someone found a way to electronically hack your vehicle? Imagine losing the ability to brake or steer while speeding down a highway!

But seriously, are modern automated cars really vulnerable to hackers? First, the bad news: yes.

Despite their mechanical, non-electronic origins, automated cars have become self-contained digital networks, with perhaps dozens of mainframes communicating with each other.

Today’s cars are packed with millions of lines of computer code, electronic controllers, and wireless connections, which are tethered to the outside world.

Such technical complexities of connected high-tech cars have opened the gateways for hackers to remotely enter the vehicle and pose a greater threat to the vehicle safety and security, besides causing massive damage to the users and tainting the car manufacturers’ brand.

Also Read: Formjacking – Trick of Cyber Criminals to Steal Payment Data

Furthermore, these constant developments in vehicle mechanization have not only made our vehicles software and firmware dependent, but also vulnerable to software-based threats like viruses, ransomware, and other malicious codes.

Anyone dedicated and smart enough to learn how these complex systems work can exploit them in ways that the original inventors never intended – in other words, hack them.  

For instance, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is an embedded device that runs on numerous operating systems and controls safety-critical functions inside the vehicle, such as acceleration, steering, brakes, transmission, and engine control.

However, like every other software or firmware-based device, this embedded device has weaknesses that can be easily manipulated, making them an easy target.

malware crusher

The automotive processors that generate, interchange and accumulate considerable amounts of sensitive data are another attractive target for hackers and create the need for high-level security.

To protect these in-vehicle networks against unsolicited exploiting and stealing of personal data, it is significant to reconsider the security architecture of the networks unraveling various domains inside a vehicle.

The protection of code and sensitive data that resides in the network needs to have strong encryption and multi-layer authentication to ensure the car is securely collaborating with known and trusted entities only.


These cyber-threats revealed that neither the automotive industry nor the security community is prepared for a large-scale targeted attack to the upcoming modern connected car ecosystem.

Hence, what do we need? While no single solution can safeguard you against all cyber threats at the same time, well-designed defense systems and in-depth strategy will be critical. To prevent such security miscarriages, firewalls will be paramount.

We need a powerful automotive cybersecurity framework that properly addresses cyber risks for the future of the automotive industry – in order to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce the economic costs of vehicle crashes.

Tips to Prevent virus and malware from Infecting Your System:
  1. Enable your popup blocker: Pop-ups and ads on the websites are the most adoptable tactic used by cybercriminals or developers with the core intention to spread malicious programs.
    So, avoid clicking uncertain sites, software offers, pop-ups etc. and Install a powerful ad- blocker for ChromeMozilla, and IE
  2. Keep your Windows Updated: To avoid such infections, we recommend that you should always keep your system updated through automatic windows update.By doing this you can keep your device free from virus.According to the survey, outdated/older versions of Windows operating system are an easy target.
  3. Third-party installation: Try to avoid freeware download websites as they usually install bundled of software with any installer or stub file.
  4. Regular Backup: Regular and periodical backup helps you to keep your data safe in case the system is infected by any kind of virus or any other infection.Thus always backup important files regularly on a cloud drive or an external hard drive.
  5. Always have an Anti-Virus: Precaution is better than cure. We recommend that you install an antivirus like ITL Total Security or a good Malware Removal Tool like Download Virus RemovalTool


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