Monday, 1 February 2016

Self-driving cars at threat of getting hacked, research says

Top auto companies are working on introducing the futuristic self-driving technology in cars soon and not only Automobiles companies going through this phase but Google and other Giants also taking interest and part in this Revolutionary change.

While things are not that easy as it looks to be, "We are a long way from securing the non-autonomous vehicles, let alone the autonomous ones. The extra computers, sensors, and improved internet connectivity required to make a car drive itself increase the possible weak points," said Stefan Savage from the University of California, San Diego.

"The attack surface for these things is even worse," said Savage. He said it is possible to take control of conventional vehicles in various ways, for example by dialling into a car's built-in cellular connection, or by giving a driver a music CD programmed with a 'song of death' that makes the car connect to an attacker's computer.

In Simple terms, the driverless car technology will open up new security problems such as hacks that make it possible to take over the brakes, engine or other components of a car remotely, researchers say.

Tech giant Google is working on autonomous cars as part of Google X project to develop technology for mainly electronic cars. The software installed in Google’s cars is called Google Chauffeur. Recently, with the help from NASA space technology, automaker Nissan successfully test-drove its all-electric, driverless car at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California.

How this technology works? The self-driving cars, or prototypes, rely on sensors to determine the surroundings and objects like pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles around it. The software assisting the sensors then decides the speed and trajectory to drive safely.

How to make it more secure? More computers, sensors, and other components must be added to the tangle already inside our cars so that the vehicle is able to understand its environment and drive it self even part of the time.

This is also owing to the fact that carmakers do not know exactly what software is inside the vehicles they sell because the third-party suppliers guard the details of the software inside, things like the brake-control system or central locking components.