Car guys and gals of the near future will no longer be comparing how many horsepower their new rides have, but rather how many lines of code it contains. And when you get your inspection every month, the garage is going to make sure you’re up-to-date on patches and all your blinkers work before you get your sticker.
That may sound a bit nutty, but our vehicles are already being taken over by code. Take a look at the beautiful Ford GT: Not only does it come with stunning lines and 600-horsepower, it’s also loaded with 10 million lines of code. That’s more than Boeing 787 or Lockheed F-22 Raptor, according to Digital Trends.Obviously, not many of us will ever get to drive, much less own, a rare vehicle like the Ford GT, but our everyday grocery-getters are loading up on code, too.
“Consumers too are going to have to be vigilant about the things they have connected to the Internet, whether it’s a car, home thermostat or other device.”
— Jason Meserve, Senior Principal, CA Technologies
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. This code is used for sensors to make driving better and safer, diagnostics, engine tuning for better fuel efficiency and more. All great. Until you make said cars Internet-connectable, then it’s a security risk.
As you’ve probably read, somebody has demonstrated how to hack a car. With terrifying results. Now they’re hacking semi-trucks. The poor real-life test dummy in the car case knew something was going to happen. What if it was an unsuspecting driver rolling down a major highway when things on the car start going screwy?
A year ago, I wrote about the Internet of Things, or IoT, and a similar issue with medical devices. And there are stories about home automation systems getting hacked. As we continue to rollout more IoT to the average consumer, it’s up to the manufacturers to make sure things are secure. Whether it’s the APIs used to connect systems and data or the way we identify and authenticate users, security must be top of mind for both developers and consumers of these things.
Yes, consumers too are going to have to be vigilant about the things they have connected to the Internet, whether it’s a car, home thermostat or other device. We can’t just assume the security is baked in.
Right now, it’s fun and games to speculate about how IoT might be hacked down the road, but eventually we’ll have to get serious before someone gets hurt or worse.