By 2020, an estimated 188 million connected vehicles will be on the road according to Navigant Research. In 2025 partially autonomous cars and completely autonomous cars are expected to account for more than 15% of all cars shipped that year. This number will jump to 70% of all cars shipped in 2025, nearly 72 million cars annually.
For hackers, this evolution in automobile manufacturing and design means yet another opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in insecure systems and steal sensitive data and/or harm drivers. Connected cars pose serious privacy concerns: When you get down to it, your car knows a lot about you: where you go, when you go, how long you are there, the route you took to get there, the way you drove to get there, the temperature of the cabin, what entertainment you engaged in, and how long you were chatting on the phone (if you use Bluetooth). If you’re using it, quite a detailed record of your life is being collected and potentially transmitted somewhere. The biggest risk of car cyber attacks is loss of lives.
The vehicle mobile phone hardware providing a connection to the on-board computer system is also vulnerable to malware being installed that could allow a thief to unlock the car remotely and steal it. This is serious as there is already talks of an app store for vehicle apps.