Should all connected cars have a physical network kill switch?

Should all connected cars have a physical network kill switch?

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Connected cars should come with a kill switch. That’s the take-home message—and the title—of a report by the group Consumer Watchdog. Software increasingly defines the vehicles we drive, and software can be exploited by nefarious people for nefarious means. The problem is compounded by the fact that automakers rely on software written by third parties, including open source software that is riddled with security holes, it says.

Therefore, to prevent “a 9/11-like cyber-attack on our cars,” the report calls for physical “kill switches” to be built into new cars to allow them to be completely disconnected from the Internet. If carmakers don’t agree to the report’s recommendations by year’s end, then “legislators and regulators should mandate these protections,” it says.

Yes, there’s a modem in your new car

You may have noticed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy a new vehicle that doesn’t feature an embedded modem in it. The benefits of a connected car are various, we’re told. It enables onboard telematics that the car maker can use both to improve future products and to allow features like predictive maintenance alerts. And an Internet connection to the infotainment system opens up streaming media services alongside more traditional platforms like FM or satellite radio. In Europe, an onboard modem that can call emergency services in the event of a serious crash has been mandatory since last year.

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Source: Ars Technica

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