Can The Apple Car Prove That Autonomous Cars Can Be Hack Free?

One of the biggest concerns with the prospects of autonomous vehicles, like the rumored Apple Car, is the consistent rise in hacking. Senate member Bill Nelson spoke of his worries about autonomous car hacking at the recent hearing, “Hands off: The Future of Self-Driving Cars.”

Just recently, “hackability” was discovered on the Nissan LEAF’s app. Hackers were able to get into the car’s system from an internet browser and control features. Mikko Hypponen, a Finnish security expert, anticipates hackers getting involved in autonomous car hacking and demanding ransom, or affecting traffic. He explained:

“If you wanted to slow US GDP, all you would have to do is increase the commute time in every urban environment by 15 minutes. Just tweak a few cars, or get one to put on the brake … even if these things happen a few times, it will affect the confidence of consumers.”

It seems that autos will be the last place that full autonomy is a reality, but semi-autonomy is already here and analysts predict huge advancements in the next four to five years. The technology is already in planes and trains and companies are ready to use it for water ferries. The rise in hacking has caused a greater need for cyber insurance. In 2015 it was a $2 billion industry. Forecasts are putting it at $7.5 billion by 2020. Possibly the year of the Apple Car.

President of the Insurance Information Institute, Robert Hartwig, said:

“This is America, and if you have a breach of personal data, you are absolutely positively going to be sued. The legal fees and settlement costs will be more than the cost of the attack.”

Recently a hacker claimed to figure out how to take over certain controls on a passenger plane. Other hackers caused a Jeep to crash by hacking its software. Years ago, hackers traded information at a hacking conference concerning the ability to spread viruses between vehicles. Today, hackers are making millions.

Hartwig estimates that by 2030 there will be 80% less traffic accidents with the application of autonomous vehicles. The Insurance Information Institute believes that by that time 25% of cars sold will be autonomous. Is the huge decrease in accidents worth the possibility of hacking?

Hypponen concluded:

“The internet has brought us more good than bad. Overall, technology improves our lives and business, even with the risks. And I’ll be able to watch cat videos on YouTube while I’m ‘driving’.”

The Apple Car could honestly be the answer to this problem. Apple is well-known for its high level of security. The current Apple vs. FBI case is a perfect example. Not only is Apple’s interface impossible to hack, even by the top government agencies, but Apple is standing behind its security.

If the FBI, NSA, and CIA need Apple’s help to break into a phone, obviously the company is doing something right. Apple will come into the autonomous car market with full understanding of what needs to be done in advance to assure that there are no breaches.

Source (The Guardian)

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