Network Security, Vulnerability Management

Elon Musk: biggest concern for autonomous vehicles is fleet hack

As automakers rush to bring autonomous vehicles to market, white hat cybersecurity researchers continue to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited remotely some of which could have jeopardized entire fleets of vehicles prompting recalls.

“I think one of the biggest concern for autonomous vehicles is somebody achieving a fleet-wide hack,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the National Governors Association this weekend in Providence, Rhode Island.

Musk highlighted the scope of potential threats automakers must now consider noting how even a prank could damage his own brands reputation.

“In principles, if someone was able to say hack all the autonomous Teslas, they could say – I mean just as a prank – they could say ‘send them all to Rhode Island – across the United States… and that would be the end of Tesla and there would be a lot of angry people in Rhode Island,” Musk said.

Specialized encryption used within the powertrain and cryptographic validation of firmware updates are just a few of the security measures Musk said the world needs to move towards or else manufacturers risk leaving the door open to new vulnerabilities. He also noted the importance of allowing override authority to the occupants as well.

Other autonomous vehicle firms are taking note as well. Earlier this year a group of mercenaries targeted Baidu's driverless car technologies prompting the tech frim to go as far as teaming up with rival companies Tencent and Alibaba in order to counter these types of attacks in the future.

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