You’re about to drive to work. You turn on the ignition – and a message on the dash lights up. “We’ve hacked your car! Pay 10 bitcoin to get it back.”
Hacking into software and then demanding a ransom to release it – what’s known as ransomware – is not new. Finnish security expert Mikko Hypponen fully expects it to become a reality as self-driving or “autonomous” cars start to become more commonplace.
Already, one hacker claims to have taken control of some systems on board a passenger plane he was on, getting as far as issuing a “climb command” that he accessed through the entertainment system. Another pair of hackers caused a Jeep to crash in July 2015 by accessing some of the car’s software through another poorly protected entertainment system. At the Defcon hacking conference, as far back as 2011, hackers were asking if they could write a virus that would be transmitted car to car.