How to keep smart cars safe from hacking

New York: A team of student researchers in the US created a security protocol to protect from cyber attacks smart cars with GPS, Bluetooth and internet connections.

In 2015, two researchers remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee and controlled everything — from the car’s radio and media console to its brakes and steering.

“These cars have become the trend of the future,” said Shucheng Yu, an Associate Professor of computer science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).

“There could be some very severe consequences if someone hacked into the car. A car can be fully controlled by the hacker if it is not protected,” Yu added in a university statement.

Yu and his student Zachary King, a junior majoring in computer science at the UALR, created a security protocol to protect smart cars from hacking in the project “Investigating and Securing Communications in the Controller Area Network (CAN)”.

King built an experimental environment that simulates the communication system in a smart car, which allows the security protocol to be tested through simulations.

“There are many ways that hackers can control CAN,” King said.

“Once they access it, hackers can pretty easily control your car however they want. We are proposing to add a layer of security, so if an unauthorised person accesses it, they still would not be able to control your vehicle,” King said.

The participants were honoured in July during commencement ceremony at the UALR Engineering and Information Technology Building.