Hacking has come a long way from bypassing high-level government firewalls to “play a game.” Online security companies throughout the country tout their ability to protect identities and information stored on laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
Yet, one of the most powerful and pricey consumer product having online access has become fodder for hackers.
Regulus Cyber, an autonomous systems defense company, claims to have successfully replicated Autopilot technology with hardware and software available on the consumer market. The “victim” was a Tesla Model 3. What was stolen was control of the motor vehicle by substituting GPS satellites with pirated signals.
With access to the car, the “hackers” acted as the “driverless” driver, reducing speed, accessing the turn signal and turning off the road.
While an antenna installed on the car’s roof was necessary for a successful hack, the experiment underscored a significant concern. If GPS spoofing can occur with the click of a mouse, the possibilities seem endless. Autonomous driving grows ever closer to reality. Yet, a harsher reality goes beyond changing lanes or getting off on the wrong exit.
The “stealth” methods place the safety of drivers and others sharing the road at risk. The most cautious of motor vehicle operators could find their cars out of their control and causing serious and deadly accidents.
Currently, the systems are not completely autonomous. Hackers cannot just overtake and operate the car as drivers become aware of a hack can resume control. Ironically, the more sophisticated the automation technology becomes, the greater the threat of GPS spoofing.
Hackers – many inspired by the WarGames movie – have been known to match the technological innovation of their targets.