In lieu of reports about cars being vulnerable of being hacked into while being driven, U.S. politicians are doing what they can to save drivers from potential disasters on the road.
Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, also known as the SPY Act, on Tuesday (July 21), urging automobile manufacturers to inject stronger IT security standards into Internet-connected vehicles, many of which are currently vulnerable to a wireless attack.
"Drivers shouldn't have to choose between being connected and being protected," Markey said in a statement, as reported by the Huffington Post. "We need clear rules of the road that protect cars from hackers and American families from data trackers."
Added Blumenthal: "Rushing to roll out the next big thing, automakers have left cars unlocked to hackers and data-trackers. Federal law must provide minimum standards and safeguards that keep hackers out of drivers' private data lanes. Security and safety need not be sacrificed for the convenience and promise of wireless progress."
The Senators' hope is of course that the bill becomes a law and guides the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to issue IT security and privacy standards for vehicle electronics, including infotainment systems and other Internet-connected dashboard networks that could leave vehicles vulnerable to a hackers' attack.
A series of recent stories by WIRED described how easily hackers compromised a Jeep Cherokee, getting cold air to blast through the vents and windshield wiper fluid to splash, before remotely disabling the vehicle on the side of the highway. The hackers were able to attack the vehicle through its Uconnect Internet connection and it's believed that many more vehicles are open to such kind of hacking.
The threat is so alarming that Chrysler has issued a security patch within its software update in attempt to discourage future wireless hacking, especially while vehicles are being driven.