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Hacking connected cars is difficult but may be harder with the power of NEM

hackinwhitecarMany are concerned that connected cars can be hacked. One of the most difficult cars to hack is the Tesla S and a group is offering $10,000 to hackers who can crack it.  However, for most cars on the road today, car hacking is very difficult and requires knowledge and devices that most people don’t have.

When AUTO Connected Car asked security expert Mark Fitzgerald from Strategy Analytics about car computer hacking he said that it seldom happens.

After viewing the videos that follow showing hackers breaking into cars systems, Fitzgerald said that there has to be Computer Hacking Device hardware on a car – a lot of trouble to go through to hack a vehicle. In one video a Honda was hacked that has a cellular telematics unit added to it, that Honda is not sold with an embedded modem.

The bottom line Fitzgerald said is “Automakers and software vendors are aware of the hacking situation and are taking measures to make safety critical portions of the vehicle bus network secure.”

Often a hack requires a device connected to the OBDII port thatis inside the car under the dash.

In fact, many safety systems require a safety certification. To be even more secure, researchers are testing a new form of auto security.  Karl Heimer, the senior research director at the Battelle Center for Advanced Vehicle Environments and his team  are working  a security featured called NEM or a Network Enforcement Module.

Basically, the NEM  uses machine-learning to understand normal behaviors through vehicle usage and then detect system anomalies. If, there’s an anomaly or a change in functionally the  NEM would recognize there’s a problem which could be system failure or hacking.

NEM can alert the driver, intervene or alert authorities, depending on the severity of the threat

The NEM would have understand over 100 million lines of software code and  Six-Sigma accuracy, which is less than 3.4 mistakes out of a million operations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has already evaluated the system, and Battelle expects to begin implementing the system in 2015.

Batelle sponsors the Battelle CyberAuto Challenge this week in Detroit Michigan where teams of students scientists, government personnel, and auto industry engineers engage in a practicum-based series of challenges. Hopefully, Battelle students will secure systems before hackers get to them.

Battelle as developed  VITAL that gives drivers real-time vehicle telematics data that can be used to monitor/coach driving, maintenance, and  update performance.

You will notice in the CNN Money video that there are physical connections and the cars have the dashboards entirely removed, something a car owner would notice. So if you get in your car and the dashboard has been removed, please have a mechanic check to see if you have hacking devices connected to your car.