Driverless Cars Could Be Targets of Terrorists, Nations

April 21, 2016

U.S. Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin says Internet-connected and driverless cars could be targets for hackers, including hostile nations and terrorists, and he urged the automotive industry to ensure that such vehicles have built-in cybersecurity protection. The market for Internet-connected cars could reach a value of $42 billion by 2025, with more than 220 million vehicles on the roads. Toyota Motor Corp., Google, Ford Motor Co., and Baidu Inc. intend to introduce driverless cars in as soon as five years.

“There is no Internet-connected system where you can build a wall that’s high enough or deep enough to keep a dedicated nation-state adversary or a sophisticated criminal group out of the system,” said Carlin.

Questions about the auto industry’s responsiveness were raised last year when Fiat Chrysler waited 18 months to tell federal safety regulators about a security flaw in radios being installed in more than a million vehicles that security researchers exploited in July, seizing control of a Jeep just to show it could be done. The episode led to the recall of almost 1.5 million vehicles — the first auto recall prompted by cybersecurity concerns.