More and more we are seeing vehicles on the road that are referred to as "connected," or having direct internet and other digital access.  Whether it's built-in wifi, or other internet features to assist the GPS, performance and other features, the fear of getting hacked as grown considerably.  Especially after recently, two computer experts were able to "take control" of a Jeep Cherokee while their test driver was speeding down the road at 70 miles per hour!

It's not unusual for people to suffer identity theft or have their credit cards, bank accounts or other online features broken into. But cyber officials now say it's spreading to these connected vehicles.

According to USA Today, it's a reality. July 22nd, they ran a feature article detailing how two computer hackers were asked by Wired Magazine to see if they could break into a brand new Jeep Cherokee, which features sophisticated internet-digital technology.

They wanted to see if two security experts could hack in and take control of the vehicle. Mission accomplished, according to USA Today:

"The security experts, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, accessed the Jeep's computer brain through its Uconnect infotainment system and rewrote the firmware to plant their malicious code. Once in, the duo began blasting hip-hop through the stereo system, turned the AC to maximum and, ultimately, killed the transmission and brakes."

The  Jeep ended up in a ditch, although their test driver was not injured. But the test showed the growing vulnerability of such high-tech vehicles, especially when we are on the threshold of self-driving or largely automated vehicles - such as Google's self-driving car. Again from USA Today:

"If the frequent attacks on myriad retail and financial institutions tell us anything, it's that there isn't a digitally connected network that is completely safe from hackers. And while it's one thing to have to change credit cards due to a breach, it's another to be trapped in a speeding hunk of metal when the crippling intrusion happens."

The security experts have been working with various auto makers about how to better safeguard their vehicle onboard computer systems, and they plan to present their full findings at the Black Hat Security Conference this month in Las Vegas.


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