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Ami Dotan of Karamba Security speaks at 2019 CAR MBS.

Security CEO Warns of Auto Hacking Concerns

European automakers seem to be “leading the pack” when it comes to automotive cyber-crime-fighting, says Ami Dotan of Karamba Security.

The good news for BMW was the Chinese hackers were benevolent enough.

Staffers at Keen Security Lab, a cybersecurity research unit, last year discovered a range of security soft spots in three BMW models. Those vulnerabilities could be exploited by less altruistic hackers to remotely gain control of a vehicle.

The lab’s researchers described their findings in a technical report. It stopped short of publishing information that could be turned into a hacker’s handbook.

Ami Dotan, CEO and co-founder of Karamba Security in Bloomfield Hills, MI, cited the BMW breach during a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminars here. Cybersecurity is a big topic of discussion at the annual auto conference, notes CAR CEO Carla Bailo. 

Dotan paints a dark picture of what malevolent hackers could do to gain control of new vehicles, vehicles becoming more and more connected – and consequently more vulnerable to cybercriminals – and which may have more than 100 million lines of software code.

“With hackers, don’t call them, they’ll call you,” he says of their criminal outreach capabilities.

Automakers are well-aware of the problem, although European brands seem to be “leading the pack” when it comes to cyber-crime-fighting, Dotan says.

Among defensive solutions available is employing a system of real-time codes that change to thwart hackers, who might range from high-tech car thieves to diabolical wrongdoers who take control of a car and send it off a cliff.

TAGS: Technology
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