It’s all the rage these days, we hear about it in the news constantly.Technologically advanced vehicles are in demand and automotive companies are more than happy to oblige and cash in on the tech craze. In a short period of time we have introduced adaptive cruise control, parallel parking aids and in the not so distant future possibly full autonomous vehicles. Automotive companies are struggling to keep up with one another, each one pushing new technology as quickly as they can think it up. 

While there is nothing wrong with advancing technology in vehicles for a more convenient and safer experience the speed at which these companies are releasing this technology should be alarming to the general public. With any new invention or adaptation, it takes time to review the possible side effects something may have. The big issue in today’s world is security. Can hackers, terrorists and other parties remotely attack a vehicle or a group of vehicles? Could cyber-attacks on vehicles cause accidents, injury and even death? The answer is a big resounding yes!

One study, a first of its kind, performed by Dr. Charlie Miller shows that attacks are increasingly likely the more cars start to rely on technology. In his report, A Survey of Remote Automotive Attack Surfaces, Dr. Charlie Miller says, “Attacks are likely easier in their presence than in their absence.” This new information and recent concern has automobile manufacturers scrambling again, only this time it’s to secure and protect their systems from a possible attack. Just a few short weeks ago, David Friedman, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested automakers work together to figure out ways to thwart cyber-attacks. 

While no attacks have occurred to date it doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t be planning ahead. Beyond the obvious and devastating potential for loss of life, the financial and societal fallout of a cyber-attack on the auto industry could leave the already weak industry crippled. Just as people were scared to fly after 9/11, the public would be concerned to drive, leading to decline in auto sales, loss of jobs and inevitably a huge blow to America’s economy. 

Automakers are now taking the next step of adding wifi and built-in web browsers to infotainment packages. Web-browsers are a hackers specialty, they have long known how to work and manipulate a web browser while automakers are just now getting into the game. In the months and years ahead, more discussions will take place about autonomous vehicles and technology in general. It’s great to get excited about more modern conveniences in vehicles but we must make sure that we are also doing everything in our power to keep safety as our number one priority. Safety above all else, including technology, is what will keep America and the automotive industry driving on the road to success.  

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