The Car Accident Risk of the Future: Hackers?

JACKSON, Mississippi. As self-driving technology becomes more ubiquitous, car companies face another tough challenge that could pose a serious car accident risk to drivers: hackers. According to the New York Times, car companies are hiring security experts to protect the software of vehicles geared with autonomous or semi-autonomous technology. The risk is that hackers with a laptop will target self-driving vehicles to send them crashing into people, buildings, or other vehicles. Two hackers hired to look into the vulnerabilities of car computers were able to gain access to a Jeep Cherokee, disabling the transmission of the vehicle.

The ways that hackers can access the car’s essential functions are sometimes shocking. The hackers of the Jeep Cherokee, for instance, were able to hack the vehicle’s brakes, steering, and transmission via the car’s entertainment system. These hacking risks are not just hypothetical scenarios that could apply in a world populated by autonomous vehicles. According to Wired, Chrysler was forced to recall 1.4 million cars after hackers showed that they could remotely gain control of the vehicle’s systems. The hackers have continued to work on finding new vulnerabilities, showing that vehicles already on the road could be theoretically forced to stop suddenly or accelerate unintentionally. In another scenario, the hackers were able to cause the vehicle’s steering wheel to turn at high speeds—a potentially deadly attack.

The good news is that the hackers can only perform the new serious attacks with a computer directly plugged into the vehicle. It cannot be done wirelessly. But the attack demonstrates that dangerous wireless attacks are indeed possible. In some cases, the hackers have been able to disable the car’s onboard computer. Some companies have started offering hackers money for discovering and reporting vulnerabilities. However, the New York Times reports that car companies don’t have the same financial resources as some of the tech companies who are offering money for freelance hackers. So far, the hacks have been performed by “white hat” hackers, or hackers who are hired as researchers or hired to detect and report vulnerabilities to companies. However, the cars can become targets to those with malicious intent.

Unlike big data companies that protect data from hackers, when a car is hacked, the consequence can be death or serious injury. In the future, car companies may need to hire more software developers and experts in security.

As more cars use technology, the risks will only grow. The consequences for personal injury law and victims will likely be immense, as automakers may be found responsible when technology fails. As of yet, this is a very new realm in personal injury law. Williams, Newman, Williams, Attorneys and Counselors at Law are car accident lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who are closely watching these recalls and developments. If you’ve been hurt in an accident in Jackson, Mississippi, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Visit us at to learn more.


By | 4:56 pm | Categories: Legal News | 0 Comments

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