Self-driving vehicles have received a lot buzz lately, but manufacturers should address potential threats first before putting them as the future of transportation.
Cyberattacks are some of them, including GPS signal jamming and interference. Manufacturers can test the security of their cars’ data systems by using a GPS simulator during the development phase. This is important since online threats become more complex over time.
Aside from testing GPS signals, manufacturers can protect vehicles through contingency measures such as a lock-down mode for vehicles. In case of an attack, the car’s defense system will prioritize their passenger’s safety until they reach the destination.
Compromised vehicle communications are another risk. Hackers may feed an autonomous vehicle’s communication network with the wrong information, such as spoofing hazards and traffic obstructions that are otherwise not present in the environment. Other types of threats can be unintentional. For instance, a driver may use USB ports or OBD-2 ports without knowing that they may be corrupted with malware.
Autonomous vehicle manufacturers could use the aviation industry as a good reference when learning more about the risks of cyberattacks to GPS networks. Airlines have been exposed longer to the threat of satellite communication technology ever since it used GPS signals.
Some experts have already claimed to find the weaknesses of a plane’s WiFi network, which they can access even from a remote location. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that this is possible, after knowing that their team of cyber professionals were able to access a Boeing 757 commercial plane.
Most people remain unsure if they would want to use a self-driving car, simply because safety is still a top concern. Manufacturers have already started to improve its cyber security resources, particularly by sharing information about different threats. Still, developers need to continue finding ways on how to solve a vehicle’s GPS weaknesses and other system vulnerabilities.