A high-level US Justice Department official is warning connected cars may be “used by rogue nation states to commit murder”, so the American government is telling driverless car manufacturers to prioritise cybersecurity.
It says otherwise, they risk “coming under attack from cybercriminals and hackers”.
The International Business Times and Bloomberg quote John Carlin, US assistant attorney general for national security as saying, “we’ve seen rogue nation states try to assassinate those that do not share their beliefs. If they were able to do it remotely through a car, I don’t see why they consider that a safe zone. There is no internet-connected system where you can build a wall that’s high enough or deep enough to keep a dedicated nation-state adversary or a sophisticated criminal group out of the system.”
Carlin is further quoted as saying that government agencies and large firms are still in the “early days” of adapting towards driverless car technology and remain “very unsettled” by the uncertainty these changes are causing. “This will be the next battlefront,” he said. “Right now what we have is this combination of carrots and sticks, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all protocol that’s been mandated by statute.”
He pointed to recent hacks of connected cars, adding that the frequency of hackers attempting to attack internet-connected cars is only going to rise and warning that nation states will inevitably be interested in such activity. “If you were able to do something that could affect a large scale of an industry – like 100,000 cars – you could see that being in the arsenal of a nation-state’s tool kit as a new form of warfare.”