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If Tesla can be hacked, how safe are self-driving cars?

Posted by Matthew on May 09, 2018 in the following categories: Hacking News and tagged with

car hacking

If Tesla can be hacked, how safe are self-driving cars?

There are already major concerns over whether self-driving vehicles are safe, given that computers can make mistakes that humans may otherwise be able to prevent or correct. There have been a number of incidents already involving self-driving car collisions, but to add another perspective to this issue, what about self-driving cars being hacked?

Tesla was subject to a data breach recently, so how safe will self-driving cars be in terms of cybersecurity?

Recently, a Tesla data cloud was reportedly hacked, which happened because hackers were able to penetrate a Tesla console which was not password-protected. This led to the exposure of a Tesla Amazon S3 cloud account which contained sensitive data, including vehicle telemetry.

So, what if hackers were able to break in to Tesla’s systems – Tesla being one of the current major players in the market when it comes to self-driving cars – and corrupt or control key software that impacts self-driving vehicles? If these vehicles are sending data between consoles or servers for, say, quality control and monitoring purposes, what’s to stop a hacker being able to do some serious damage with that kind of power in their hands?

Ransomware remains on the rise, so picture this: a hacker breaks into a Tesla server and holds them hostage over fears of interfering with their self-driving technology that could, theoretically, include tampering with the operation of a self-driving vehicle. Perhaps someone may do something as serious and potentially dangerous as this without an agenda of pursuing money from ransom as well.

We just don’t know.

The point of this is that if a major player in the self-driving car market like Tesla could be so easily hacked, can we be certain and assured that their self-driving technology is not going to be vulnerable to hacking as well? When you think about self-driving cars carrying important or expensive goods, you could argue that the possibilities are potentially endless unless cybersecurity can be absolutely assured.

As we know, there is no system or server that is completely impenetrable…

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