Skip to main content

U.S. automakers were leading targets of hackers in 2018, FBI says

In today’s connected world, we take great care to protect ourselves from hackers and other threats to our cybersecurity. We protect our computers and our smartphones, but have you thought about your vehicle? The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a report to select private companies saying that automakers were the leading targets for hackers in 2018.

A report by CNN, which obtained a copy from the FBI, states that “the automotive industry likely will face a wide range of cyber threats and malicious activity in the near future as the vast amount of data collected by Internet-connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles become a highly valued target for nation-state and financially motivated actors.” CNN further reported that an FBI spokesperson would not comment on details in the report, but noted that “in furtherance of public-private partnerships, the FBI routinely advises private industry of various cyber threat indicators observed during the course of our investigations.”

This is not a new threat but it is an increasing one. As early as 2015, Fiat-Chrysler issued a recall of 1.4 million vehicles due to software security issues. General Motors also had a recall on a software app just last year when it was brought to light that hackers could control some systems in the Chevrolet Volt.

The FBI report warns that automotive companies have been victim to ransomware attacks. It pointed out that one company paid the ransom, but the hacker never released the stolen data. Ransomware can be devastating to an individual or an organization. Anyone with important data stored on their computer or network is at risk, including government and law enforcement agencies, health care systems, or other critical infrastructure entities.

While wireless features are not new to today’s vehicles, the recent addition of Wi-Fi hot spots and satellite communications make these systems more vulnerable to cyberattacks. A report by Reuters states that the FBI bulletin T”warned that criminals could exploit online vehicle software updates by sending fake e-mail messages to vehicle owners who are looking to obtain legitimate software updates. Instead, the recipients could be tricked into clicking links to malicious websites or opening attachments containing malicious software.”

Editors' Recommendations

John Elkin
Worked for many off road and rally and sports car publications throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Decided to go look for a…
Mercedes-Benz G580 vs Rivian R1S: rugged electric SUVs, compared
Range of Mercedes-Benz G580 vehicles

Mercedes-Benz has finally unveiled the long-rumored and heavily teased electric G-Wagon. The new vehicle, officiallydubbed the "G580 with EQ Technology," retains the beloved design of the G-Wagon, but with an interior refresh and, more importantly, an all-electric powertrain. But the vehicle goes up against tough competition -- especially in the rugged electric SUV space. Perhaps the most-loved electric SUV so far is the Rivian R1S, a three-row SUV from a new startup that, for many, is the go-to option above a certain price range.

Now, of course, there are some big differences between the two vehicles. But is one better than the other? Here's a look at the Mercedes-Benz G580 and the Rivian R1S, head-to-head.
Design
The designs of these two vehicles is radically different, but they do have some similarities. They're both boxy and square, and are high enough off the ground to allow for some off-roading.

Read more
New Tesla feature opens the trunk automatically when your hands are full
Tesla's hands-free trunk.

Tesla owners with a massive teddy bear that needs to be given a ride can now open the trunk of their vehicle hands-free to get it in. A Tesla video highlighting the new feature shows a woman carrying an enormous teddy bear to her car, whereupon the trunk detects her presence and automatically opens. And no, it doesn’t only work for huge cuddly toys. The hands-free mechanism functions equally well if you’re carrying other objects like shopping bags, a large box, or a couple of suitcases.

https://twitter.com/Tesla/status/1788703259818856691

Read more
Waymo robotaxis now completing 50,000 paid trips a week
Waymo Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV

Waymo robotaxis are now completing more than 50,000 paid trips a week in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, according to a post on social media by the Alphabet-owned company.

The company has for several years had permission to operate its robotaxis without anyone behind the steering wheel, paving the way for paying passengers to enjoy their ride with no one else inside the autonomous car.

Read more