McAfee Issues Warning of Potential Car Hacking

By Oliver VanDervoort September 07, 2011

Since the birth of the Internet we have seen more and more hackers causing all kinds of problems for big businesses and home computer users alike. We’ve seen groups like Anonymous wreak havoc by hacking into supposedly secure databases. But now one internet security watchdog is issuing a warning talking about the ability to hack … cars?

McAfee is one of the most well respected Internet security firms in existence, so when they speak, people listen. And what McAfee is saying now should give pause to those owners who want to own the biggest and baddest car with all the bells and whistles. In what is being called a one of a kind report, titled “Caution: Malware Ahead,” the company detailed its concerns. 

"As more and more functions get embedded in the digital technology of automobiles, the threat of attack and malicious manipulation increases," McAfee senior vice president and general manager Stuart McClure said. McClure also made comments about how it is one thing to have your personal computer hacked, but someone hacking into your car’s on board computer could have real safety risks as well as security issues. The security expert said that now days, chips are embedded into almost every part of the car including the brakes, the airbag and even the seatbelts.

While some people think of hacking as just fun loving and mischievous nerds causing a little confusion, this kind of hacking would amount to a kind of terrorism the world hasn’t seen yet. Imagine the CEO of a major US company suddenly finding his airbag deploying in the middle of a busy highway. Perhaps his anti-lock brakes are not engaging when he needed them most. These nightmare scenarios might seem like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster, but McAfee is warning of just this kind of danger. Newer cars give their users lots of luxuries cars produced 20 years ago didn’t have, but along with that it is important to note the dangers – no matter how unlikely – that the technological advances provide.

McAfee is also quick to point out in its report that at the moment, no hacker has attempted to take over a car’s system, but that such an act could be on the horizon.

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Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing Writer

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