Our connected world leaves us exposed

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

There’s no doubt about it, we live in a digital age that is only increasing with each day.

Vehicle manufacturers are not only including wireless Internet connectivity for your devices in the vehicle, but now newer cars feature access to door locks, remote starting and many other functions via a smartphone utilizing the vehicle’s cellular signal.

Certainly allowing children to find entertainment on long trips is a selling point. Many adults may remember days when a long car ride to a family vacation destination involved repeated cries of, “Are we there yet?”

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Back then entertainment on a long car ride would have involved a game or a song of some sort.

Now, children can watch movies, play video games or even surf the Internet.

But as it turns out, our technological advances may be putting us at risk during car rides.

This week news agencies released information that a pair of hackers disabled a Jeep’s transmission, from 10 miles away using the vehicle’s Uconnect system, which was originally developed to allow the owner access to functions and features previously mentioned.

Naturally, such news would be alarming to those who own a vehicle with this option installed.

So what response did this news elicit? A bill in the Senate.

What will this bill require?

If passed, automakers would have to isolate critical systems and create a way to prevent hacks from happening in real time. Additionally, the amount of user data collected will be limited.

Then a score will be determined and displayed on the car for the consumer to use as a gauge when making purchases.

While the Senator’s efforts are certainly welcome, it’s alarming to discover these vehicles have been open to attack previous to this news. Additionally, keep in mind that no law will stop a hacker from doing what they do best; circumvent any protection put in place.