The modern conveniences that we have grown accustomed to in our homes are slowly making their way into our cars. Infotainment centers that allow us to control our phones via Bluetooth technology, sensors that regulate tire pressure and automatic braking systems are just a few of them that are supposed to make cars safer by helping drivers keep their attention on the road.
While these technological advancements seem like a good idea (and for the most part, they are) the potential for them to be compromised still exists. Simply put the means for them to be infiltrated (i.e. hacked) is becoming a real problem that many automakers are not prepared to deal with.
According to a 60 Minutes report computers put into today’s vehicles are networked to each other. These computers can be hacked remotely. This means that someone else can obtain unauthorized access to the computers and take control of the functions the computers are responsible for, such as acceleration functions, braking and car door locks.
Even more troubling, automakers may not be adequately prepared to deal with hackers. According to a U.S. Senate report, only two automakers were able to describe any capabilities that would respond to unauthorized infiltrations in real time. In other words, there is little defense to potential hacks that could lead to tragic accidents.
As this becomes a larger concern (even though it should already be one) automakers have a continuing duty to keep consumers informed of such defects and to take reasonable steps to remedy them. Should they fail to do so, they could be held liable for the ensuing accidents and injuries.