The next frontier of cybercrime: car hacking

Dive under the hood of the average car and you’ll find that 100 million lines of code are at work running or supporting practically every system. Cars with first-generation assisted driving systems have 200 million or more lines of code, and climbing.

The challenge is that bugs in code can create security vulnerabilities that provide hackers opportunities to cause problems. Coming soon to a headline near you: a computer virus that shuts down specific models of cars, or a ransomware attack against a major car brand. It’s looking less and less like science fiction.

After all, the more lines of code, the more potential vulnerabilities. One estimate of defect density in code suggests that large, complex programs—like automobile operating systems—can carry 1 vulnerability per 1,500 lines of code. Suggesting more than 66,000 potential vulnerabilities in the average automobile. No wonder cybersecurity is such a big deal at auto makers. It’s up to them to ensure car hacking doesn’t become the new carjacking.

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