Car hacking defenses near nonexistent, Senator’s report says

Ford Sync 3
Cars are starting to look more like oversized smartphones everyday. They’ve got touch screens, sensors, and an array of circuits and wiring buried beneath the sheetmetal.

That’s led to concerns about the danger of car hacking, and a new report says carmakers aren’t prepared.

Almost all new cars include potential entry points for hackers, but carmakers are largely unaware of how these systems could be exploited or how to protect them, the report, released Monday by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said.

The Senator’s office surveyed 16 manufacturers, and found that only two could describe how they would deal with a real-time infiltration of a vehicle.

Overall, the report found security measures to be “inconsistent and haphazard,” and some officials surveyed didn’t even seem to understand questions posed by Markey and his staff.

Cyber-security experts have expressed concerns over the vulnerability of cars before, even demonstrating car hacks in controlled conditions. However, this is the first time a public official has spoken out on the issue.

Yet while car hacking may be the more dramatic threat, the potential breach of privacy allowed by current in-car tech could be more serious in everyday life.

The report also found that carmakers are collecting large amounts of customer data, frequently without those customers being explicitly aware of the collection or how the information will be used.

At least nine carmakers use third-party services to collect and store data, which is viewed as an increased security risk.

That data can include the physical location of the car, where it was last parked, distances and times traveled, and previous destinations logged into navigation systems.

Carmakers have already acknowledged that they are collecting and using this data. General Motors has discussed how it could be used to tweak vehicle designs, while Cisco has said customers are already willing to trade some privacy for certain perks.

In November, two industry trade groups – the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers – tried to address privacy concerns by drafting voluntary guidelines, calling for data collection only for “legitimate business purposes.”

However, Sen. Markey’s report claims these guidelines give carmakers too much leeway, and wants to see Federal regulations put in place that allow drivers to opt out of data collection.

Even if car hacking never materializes as a real-world threat, the thought of companies essentially tracking one’s every move isn’t too comforting.

If connected cars really are the future, then rules will have to created to protect the people that drive them.


Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.

AT&T to stop selling location data to third parties after explosive report

After a report from Motherboard highlighted that carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint were selling location information to third parties and sometimes ended up in the wrong hands, carriers have announced they will end location selling…

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.