A report by McAfee suggests that cars might soon be the next target for hackers. McAfee is partnering with Wind River and content experts in a variety of fields to analyze the security of embedded systems and provide sector-specific recommendations for securing these systems and keeping customers, as well as the general public, safe. The report provided by McAfee focuses on embedded systems in automobiles and is the first in a series of reports on embedded device security.

As more and more digital technology is introduced into automobiles, the threat of malicious software and hardware manipulation increases. There are many examples of research-based hacks that show the potential threats and depth of compromise that expose the consumer.

Last year, researchers of the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington demonstrated that critical safety components of a vehicle can be hacked if physical access to the vehicle’s electronic components inside the passenger cabin is available. The proof-of-concept software, which they dubbed “CarShark,” was developed using homemade software and a standard computer port. Recently, the same research team extended the scenario to remotely mount attacks via Bluetooth. Another demonstration showed that it was possible to hack into RFID tags that modern vehicles use to receive pressure data from small sensors inside tires.

Professor Christof Paar, University of Bochum,Germany, and University of Massachusetts Amherst, US says:

“ Security will soon become an enabling technology for almost all innovations in cars. Most people would rather have malicious software running on their laptop than inside their car braking system. Thus, incorporating strong security solutions will give  manufacturers a competitive advantage.”

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