Several members of Congress recently sent a letter to the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urging the agency to organize an
industry-wide effort to prevent possible attacks on computer systems in vehicles.
Last year, Chrysler-Fiat recalled 1.4 million vehicles that are equipped
with in-vehicle technology that is susceptible to hacking. As
previously detailed on this San Diego Injury Blog, hackers were able to identify and exploit security vulnerabilities in
a Jeep Cherokee’s UConnect entertainment system. Once they remotely
accessed the system, the hackers were able to change the vehicle’s
speed and control the brakes, radio, windshield wipers, transmission and
other features that are accessible through the system.
In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and NHTSA issued a
bulletin warning that motor vehicles are “increasingly vulnerable”
to hacking. “The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and
manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket
devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity
threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles,”
the bulletin warned.
In their letter, four Republican members of Congress expressed concern
that regulators are not working fast enough to address hacking risks.
The lawmakers particularly expressed concern about the vulnerability associated
with the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, which auto manufacturers have
been required to install in all post-1994 vehicles to test for emissions
compliance. According to the Congressmen, the port "as it currently
exists creates a growing risk to the safety and security of passengers."
Reuters reports, other federal agencies are also evaluating cybersecurity concerns involving
connected devices. The Department of Justice recently announced it has
formed a threat analysis team to examine the possible national security
challenges posed by self-driving cars, medical devices, and other internet-connected
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a defective
vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact
a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.