(BrightPress.org) – The new trend in electric driverless or assisted vehicles, thanks in part to Elon Musk’s Tesla, has created a new opening for hackers and other bad actors: hacking into the car’s software and taking it over remotely.
Christopher Balding is an expert on Chinese surveillance and the founder of Kite Data Labs. He recently issued a warning that CCP-linked groups have the potential to hack into the vehicles, track their location, and even mess with the steering and braking in automated or partially automated vehicles.
The problem isn’t going away anytime soon, as EVs are increasing in popularity and governments are incentivizing their purchase with tax credits.
In a report from his organization, Balding laid out the possibility that Chinese authorities and other bad actors could hijack EVs or even listen in on conversations in the car via the internal microphones. They also documented evidence that they can track the location of EVs as well.
In the UK, authorities have already banned the production of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2030, but there is internal debate within the country to potentially delay the ban. Last month, a bipartisan group of MPs warned Britain not to give China control of its critical transportation infrastructure where EV manufacturing is booming. They indicated that they were also aware of the potential “security risks” of using Chinese-manufactured EVs.
Balding did add that he hasn’t seen any evidence that Chinese authorities have hacked into EVs yet, but that he was concerned about the possibility in the future. His report also highlighted that beyond the obvious dangers of hijacking one’s vehicle, bad actors could simply gather data on the drivers without their knowledge or consent. They could monitor things like seatbelt use, frequent destinations, and how many people are in the car. Anyone who connects their phone to the car via Bluetooth could also risk being identified or having their data accessed.
Despite the push, EVs aren’t as popular as hoped. They’ve thus far been luxury items for the wealthy. Recently, a mechanic explained why their prices were dropping rapidly on the resale market, with a major problem being the limited life of the battery.
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