Listening to the radio in your car, surely you’re safe from hackers? Well maybe not.

NCC Group recently released information that suggests that car infotainment systems, or DAB radios, are vulnerable to a hack attack. They say that the exploit could be used to seize control of a vehicle’s brakes and other critical systems, with potentially fatal consequences.

The Manchester-based company told the BBC it had found a way to carry out the attacks by sending data via digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio signals.

How it works

By using relatively cheap off-the-shelf components connected to a laptop, the NCC’s research director, Andy Davis, created a DAB station.
Because infotainment systems processed DAB data to display text and pictures on car dashboard screens, he said, an attacker could send code that would let them take over the system.

Once an infotainment system had been compromised, he said, an attacker could potentially use it as a way to control more critical systems, including steering and braking.

Modern cars are, essentially, computer networks on wheels and we know how easy it is to hack your computer.

Mike Parris, of SBD, another company that specialises in vehicle security, said modern cars typically contained 50 interlinked computers running more than 50 million lines of code.

So should we be worried?

The UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders were quick to reassure people and responded by saying that car companies “invest billions of pounds to keep vehicles secure as possible”. Furthermore, it would take a significant amount of time, skill and money to be able to hack into the sophisticated computer systems in your car.

So your car is not as susceptible to hacks as your computer or tablet, but this new information does do well in reminding users of ANY kind of technology how careful they need to be when it comes to safety.

Your life may not be at risk when someone hacks into your data, but your business could be, so don’t take that risk.