90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, October 14, 2011

What Computer Hackers Can Do To Your Car

(notladj/Flickr)

(notladj/Flickr)

There’s a new target for hackers — cars and trucks. And there’s not a lot drivers can do about it yet.

Most vehicles have computerized systems for everything from tire pressure monitors to hands-free phone capabilities.

Bloomberg News reporter Craig Trudell says that the computers are vulnerable to hackers, who can do a lot of damage, for example they can:

  • Disable the brakes or engine independent of the driver
  • Shut off the air conditioning
  • Use a method called “fuzzing” to play malicious messages over the system that diagnoses problems with your car
  • Unlock a car remotely and start the engine

Trudell says that because many of the computer systems in cars are there because of legal mandates “You really don’t have a choice. Your on-board [computerized] diagnostic system is required.”

But the auto industry and federal government are looking into how to prevent hacking. “The good news is that the Department of Transportation is soliciting information on ways to correct this and to protect drivers,” Trudell said.

Guest:

  • Craig Trudell, Bloomberg News reporter

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

March 2 13 Comments

The Beanie Baby Boom And Bust – What Happened?

Zac Bissonnette drew on hundreds of interviews to write a book about "mass delusion and the dark side of cute."

March 2 5 Comments

Russian Opposition MP Reacts To Nemtsov Killing

The sole member of the Russian parliament to vote against the annexation of Crimea discusses the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

February 27 5 Comments

After Red Carpet Controversy, A Look At The History Of Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks go back "thousands and thousands of years," according to professor Bert Ashe, who also shares his own dreadlocks stories.

February 27 12 Comments

More Parents Say No To Standardized Testing

A growing number of parents and students are deciding to "opt out" of assessment tests.