Could A Hacker Cause Your Car Accident in 2019?

The world is growing increasingly complex. Our technology sometimes seems to get away from us, so the question of whether or not our safety standards are outpacing it is worth asking. Unfortunately, it seems like safety standards will never be enough. There are creative criminals out there working to hack into your vehicles–heck, even the government could become a capable car hacker in the years ahead. Yes, it is possible for a hacker to cause a car accident in 2019.

There are only about 330 million people living in the United States–including those who are too young or too old to drive–but somehow we manage to register about 250 million vehicles every year in our country alone. That’s a scary statistic, since many of those cars are new. These are the vehicles that are more likely to be connected to wi-fi, and that means that hackers can potentially do some damage.

But how do they do it?

They do it by hijacking the controller area network (or CAN) that cars use. Think of it as your car’s “brain” sending out signals to various parts, each performing a separate task. CAN’s creators didn’t really consider cybersecurity when they developed it in the 80s, so now we’re at risk.

All right, so hackers can take over your vehicle. What can they do?

Well, what they can do is determined by which parts of your vehicle are controlled by that computer automation. The list is getting more expansive year by year: stability control, anti-lock brakes, airbags, headlights, lane guidance, or even Tesla’s controversial autopilot system. This is all child’s play compared to the inevitable wave of automated vehicles on the horizon. When full automation is allowed on the roads, then hackers can do a lot more.

How do I know if my vehicle has been hacked?

When your car’s electronics stop working or start to behave erratically, you might blame hacking. If you suspect this to be the case, then it’s time to contact a lawyer. This is especially true if you were injured in a car accident because of the potential intrusion. Your lawyer will help you contact the authorities, perform an investigation, and seek compensation for any damage done.