Car Gets Hacked Live on 60 Minutes

By

Automotive Editor

Jesse Sears is a Los Angeles-based journalist, fiction writer and jazz trumpeter. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and has worked as a writer in the automotive industry for more than 10 years.

A classic Japanese car enthusiast and amateur autocross driver, Jesse counts the Toyota 2000GT and MR2 among his all-time favorite car models. He seeks to draw on his industry experience and knowledge base to provide relevant automotive news and car-buying advice of real value to consumers from all walks of life.

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, Automotive Editor - February 20, 2015

How safe are today's new cars from cyber attacks?

With each passing year, new cars continue to push the envelope of what was previously thought impossible. Today's cars harnesses the power of the internet for advanced connectivity. As cars become a part of the “Internet of Things,” though, hackers have begun to find security vulnerabilities that could spell disaster for motorists if they are not addressed.



Reporting for 60 Minutes, news anchor Lesley Stahl saw firsthand just how easy it can be for hackers to take control of today’s connected cars, all without a direct hard-wired link to a vehicle. You have to see the video above to believe it. At the wheel of a late-model large sedan, Stahl sat powerless as a technician with a laptop remotely took control of the car’s windshield washers and accelerator pedal, even going so far as to disable the brakes completely.

2015's Most Budget-Friendly Cars »

As automakers entice car buyers with cutting-edge tech such as automatic emergency response and in-car WiFi hotspots, the link that allows back-and-forth communication with an outside network can be compromised. Gaining access to a car’s infotainment data stream allows a hacker to insert malicious code targeting more-vital functions, like remote start mechanisms, door locks and even steering.

Research: In-Car Technology Guides »

Today’s automakers are pouring resources into making their cars more secure. When General Motors found vulnerabilities in its OnStar system, they immediately hired a new team to beef up security protocols, creating a “white list” of approved types of computers, like service department diagnostic systems, that OnStar can interface with.

Today, the chances of your new car being hacked on the road are next to nil. As in-car tech becomes more powerful and complex, though, now is the time for automakers and regulators to treat security as a serious and pressing issue.

, Automotive Editor

Jesse Sears is a Los Angeles-based journalist, fiction writer and jazz trumpeter. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and has worked as a writer in the automotive industry for more than 10 years.

A classic Japanese car enthusiast and amateur autocross driver, Jesse counts the Toyota 2000GT and MR2 among his all-time favorite car models. He seeks to draw on his industry experience and knowledge base to provide relevant automotive news and car-buying advice of real value to consumers from all walks of life.

Follow On: Twitter | Google+ | Website