Car 'hacking' prompts calls for new auto security laws

Hackers control a Jeep Cherokee remotely.

Tech website, Wired, may have the automotive industry re-thinking its security policies after the sites 'tame' hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, successfully took control remotely of a Jeep while the driver was on a motorway.

They 'hijacked' the vehicle, operating the air conditioning, sound system, wipers and, most significantly, the transmission and braking systems.

All part of research into hacking connected vehicles, the'attackers' were able to demonstrate the real vulnerability of the vehicle. They wirelessly connected to the vehicle's onboard diagnostic port, usually used to give repair technicians access to information about the car’s electronically controlled systems.

This isn't the first time the Wired crew have 'hacked' a vehicle, although the previous attempt in 2013 required a laptop to be physically attached to the vehicle's engine management system.  However, this research was enough to prompt Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal to call for the introduction of new legislation designed to require cars sold in the US to meet certain standards of protection against digital attacks and privacy.