'Cybersecurity has quickly become a priority for large corporations, businesses, and individuals alike in recent years. It seems like another major data breach is being reported every other week, and personal online accounts are often compromised by malicious actors. Now, a new study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that hackers may soon be able to cause major traffic problems in the real world by hacking and stranding internet-connected cars.
The study’s authors theorize that hackers would only have to shut down a portion of cars on the road in a busy city like Manhattan during rush hour to completely shut down traffic and gridlock the city. Researchers hope that their findings will spark a more detailed analysis of automotive cybersecurity, especially moving forward as cars become more and more high tech.
“Unlike most of the data breaches we hear about, hacked cars have physical consequences,” says co-author Peter Yunker in a release.
Yunker and his team say that right now the automotive cybersecurity sector is focusing too much on hacks that target one car, and they need to consider the possibility that a higher number of cars being hacked at the same time could lead to mayhem.
“With cars, one of the worrying things is that currently there is effectively one central computing system, and a lot runs through it. You don’t necessarily have separate systems to run your car and run your satellite radio. If you can get into one, you may be able to get into the other,” explains co-author Jesse Silverberg.'
Read More: Hacked Highways? Connected Cars Could Gridlock Entire Cities, Study Warns
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