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Cars becoming more vulnerable to hacking


The National Insurance Crime Bureau warns that hacking poses an ever-growing threat to car owners, as cars increasingly become computers with wi-fi on wheels.

"As more and more technology is incorporated, the vulnerability is huge," says the Bureau's Frank Scafidi.  "We're not seeing huge events like this or great numbers.  It is sporadic but it is something to be aware of."

A recent video caught a thief sitting in a car with his laptop, reprogramming a car to start, most likely using a new, blank key. A few minutes later, he takes off in the car.

A handful of sophisticated computer experts have also taken control of a car by hacking into its navigation system through a wi-fi signal.

Scafidi says at this point, however, it takes a great deal of expertise to accomplish remote takeover of a vehicle's operations.  Most people, however technologically savvy they may be, could not do that, he says.

Automakers say they are working to address the vulnerabilities.

Later this month, government, auto industry and computer technology experts will gather in Detroit for a cybersecurity summit.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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