It seems a long time  since car owners were able to fix their own cars with  simple parts and even a home made device. I remember successfully starting my old Ford using a ball point pen to open the carburetor.

These days we are only too well aware that computers control your car’s every function. Microprocessors now control breaking, acceleration and even the horn. Most of us don’t really think about this when we’re driving along in our cars, which do what they want them to do, unless they break down. It would seem that a flat tire is now the least of our worries.

The Chief Operating Officer, Stephan A. Tarunutzer,  for DGE Inc., commented in a Norton article,  “Because they are hidden, people don’t often understand that there can be anywhere from 30 to 40 microprocessors in most cars and even up to 100 different ones running different functions in some vehicles.”

Now, according to Norton by Semantic we are now open to hacker’s compromising our automobile system.The potential for car hacking is real and the same reasons exist as to why hackers didn’t create viruses for the Mac operating system, the experts say that there may not be a financial incentive for hackers to focus on autos, just yet.

“Most of the danger right now may come from hackers who want to demonstrate their prowess and enhance their reputations, says Tarnutzer. And the increased reliance on wireless systems — such as the tire pressure monitoring system — makes your car more vulnerable to these attacks, says John Bambene, a security researcher with the Internet Storm Center, the global cooperative community that monitors cyberthreats.”

Recently, several news reports have raised the issue of car-lhacking risks, which include:

  • Vehicle disablement. After a disgruntled former employee took over a Web-based vehicle-immobilization system at an Austin, Texas, car sales center, more than 100 drivers found their vehicles had been disabled or their horns were honking out of control.
  • Tire pressure system hacking. Researchers from the University of South Carolina and Rutgers University were able to hack into tire pressure monitoring systems. Using readily available equipment and free software, the researchers triggered warning lights and remotely tracked a vehicle through its unique monitoring system.
  • Disabling brakes. Researchers at the University of Washington and University of San Diego created a program that would hack into onboard computers to disable brakes and stop the engine. The researchers connected to onboard computers through ports for the cars’ diagnostic system.

If you’d like to read the answers to the question: Is your car at risk? And, how to protect your car from hacking, click on the article Can your car be hacked?

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