Last month, Wired published an account describing how security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to wirelessly hack into a Jeep Cherokee. After first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, they then disabled the accelerator. Even more alarming, Miller and Valasek also wirelessly disabled the Jeep’s brakes, leaving Andy Greenberg, the Wired writer who was at the wheel, “frantically pumping the pedal as the 2-ton SUV slid uncontrollably into a ditch.” A few days later, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a recall affecting about 1.4 million vehicles.
This particular vulnerability will presumably be quickly patched. But given the headlong rush of automobile manufacturers to make “connected” vehicles, it’s likely that other vehicle cybersecurity holes will be discovered as well—some of which might enable cyberattackers to take control of a vehicle over the Internet and cause an accident. And if that happens, who is liable?
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