Monday 27 July 2015

Hacking cars

08:40 Posted by G No comments
There's been lost of news in the IT press recently, which even tipped over in to the FT at the weekend, about hacking of IT systems in cars.  The most well publicised article was this one in Wired about a Jeep.

What's really terrifying is the complexity of systems within cars.  This article on LinkedIn talks about cars having more lines of code in them than Windows Vista, the space shuttle and a Boeing 787 combined.

With that much code, and probably from a multitude of suppliers, no wonder it's a challenge to keep them secure.

This all smacks of the early days of Windows security (or lack of it), it took a number of years for Microsoft to get good at it, (which is it arguably now).  However Microsoft own all their own code, and have the resources to get it right.

For car manufacturers, this is a big deal, a non core skill, and something that they won't want to focus any more time and energy that they absolutely have to.

Where will this lead ?  Certainly many more vulnerabilities and headlines of compromised cars.  Alongside this as the battle between adding features & usability and security continues, with car makers adding 4G and Wi-Fi there's a rocky road ahead.

Will we get to stage where we have a Ford 'Patch Tuesday' and all owners will need to upgrade their cars ? Will you want to be the first customer to test a car makers patch ? With the range of disparate systems and manufacturers in your car, will that patch work first time and flawlessly ? If big manufacturers can't get it right on a mobile phone, what chance on a car with far more code ?

It's not all bad news, Tesla is at least using software updates to add more features, how about a fast 0-62 mph time ?


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