New cars are all about technology. It's a true fact when people say that they're just not made how they used to be. In fact, what was once a snarky term of endearment has actually gained a lot of merit in the world of concern recently.
Newer cars with technology built right in might be more convenient for users, but at what cost? Cars are including Bluetooth audio systems, back-up camera systems, computer-controlled engines, and now cellular connectivity for the on-board entertainment systems.
Of course, cellular connectivity means that you're connected to the grid... leaving you wide open for attacks. At least, that's the concern with a recent case of problems affecting Chrysler-branded cars.
A 2014 Jeep Cherokee was reportedly taken control of over a cellular data connection via an exploit in the built-in Uconnect system, and was able to be controlled from a laptop far away from the vehicle by two American hackers.
The laptop owner was able to control the car's stereo system, windshield wipers & fluid, mess with the speedometer, lock and unlock the doors, move the steering wheel, disable the brakes, and even shut the engine off. To make matters worse, the driver couldn't do anything about it because the hackers had full control of the car remotely.
Scaring you yet? Maybe you're not yet realizing the dangers; below, you can watch a video showing what the hackers were capable of:
The hacking in this scenario was done in a controlled environment in this case, so no one was harmed as a result, but the demonstration does show the serious risk of driving a car connected to the Internet.
Imagine the dangers of someone that had the intent of truly hurting someone: they would just be able to connect to the car of their choice, turn the steering wheel hard left, and in no time the car would tumble into oncoming traffic.
"If consumers don't realize this is an issue, they should, and they should start complaining to carmakers. This might be the kind of software bug most likely to kill someone," says Charlie Miller, a security researcher for Twitter and a former National Security Agency hacker.
Despite the fact that distracted driving continues to be a problem on the roads in the U.S., it's amazing that car manufacturers even continue to put all of these distractions into the OEM design of the car. Now, not only is it a matter of distracted driving, but it's also a serious security issue that could increase the death tolls on our streets.
Sure, some older cars may not look as good as new ones depending on your tastes, but at least they can't be hijacked by a computer miles away from you. This is something to consider in your future car purchase endeavors.