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Computers in Cars Leave Them Open to Hackers
Written by Rachel McDevitt
Last updated on June 04, 2014 @ 7:16PM
Created on June 04, 2014 @ 6:43PM

Computers, smartphones, and anything that connects to the Internet is at risk of getting hacked. Now that our cars are made up many tiny computers, they are at risk too.

Years ago, groups of ethical hackers proved that a person could intercept a signal to unlock cars, and use that to break into them. Now they are saying that the equipment needed to wirelessly take control of someone's car could be bought for about $12 at Radio Shack, but it's the code that's complicated, and the people that have figured it out aren't going to be releasing it anytime soon.

Auto makers are also starting to take precautions. Ford has firewalls for it's tech, and Toyota has security chips in their computers to lower the chance of outside interference. A tech expert at Pierpont Community and Technical College said he doesn't think that car hacking is an immediate risk, but it is something on the horizon that he hopes manufacturers will account for.

"The average car that is made today has 20 to 70 computers on board and they're all networked together. So essentially, your car is a rolling computer, it's a rolling network, and just like any computer network, they're vulnerable to attacks," said Rob Linger, the Chief Information Officer at Pierpont.

People who spoke to 5 News on Wednesday said they don't really trust the computers in their cars. One person even said mechanics can't figure out a computer-related problem in their car, and that it's sort of scary.

"I don't even own a smartphone, so I think that all cars should manual drive, no matter what. There should always have to be a human being behind the steering wheel," said Zachary Hickman from Taylor County.

Mary Ann Satterwhite of Marion County said, "If you're traveling down the road and your vehicle just stalls, what if you're at a high rate of speed? I really don't know where this is going to lead with computers. Computers scare me."


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