Can Hackers Cause Car Accidents?

September 2, 2015

By now, readers of legal blogs—and, particularly, personal injury blogs—have seen numerous speculative pieces concerning the potential risks and legal consequences of self-driving cars.  Self-driving cars and trucks are big news right now, and undoubtedly will impact both the way we travel and how we compensate injured parties following accidents.  But with successful  driving records, widespread regulatory approval of self-driving cars still years away, and public trust in the technology likely even further out, self-driving cars do not currently pose a substantial risk to most Americans.  Connected cars, however, do.

What Is a Connected Car?

“A connected car is a car that is equipped with Internet access, and usually also with a wireless local area network. This allows the car to share internet access with other devices both inside as well as outside the vehicle.”  Source.

Connected cars have been on the market for several years, and are becoming increasingly prevalent.  Most automobile manufacturers offer at least one connected car, including General Motors, Chrysler, and Audi.  While there are many benefits to the mobile connectivity these vehicles provide, a recent demonstration shows that they are also vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Connected Cars are Hackable Cars

In July, security researchers used a laptop computer to remotely take control of the engine and brakes of a moving Jeep Cherokee—a connected vehicle.  By exploiting a flaw in the vehicle’s wireless system, the researchers demonstrated the serious risks of this already widely-used technology. 

While not garnering the spotlight like self-driving cars, the risks of connected cars are becoming an issue in Washington D.C.  As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Senator Edward Markey, a co-sponsor of a bill to develop anti-hacking security standards for vehicles, noted that connected car security vulnerabilities may very well be auto defects.  “A cybersecurity vulnerability is a safety defect in the same way an exploding air bag or a malfunctioning ignition switch is a safety defect.  Auto makers cannot ignore their responsibility to ensure the cars they sell are safe from hacking.”

If You Have Been Injured Due to a Defective Vehicle, You Need an Experienced Ohio Auto Defect Attorney

Contact Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA at 844-714-7360 to discuss your auto defect claim.

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