Is your new car a national security threat?

Is your new car a national security threat? Through the Cold War, both sides of the Iron Curtain resolved the question of expanding aerial surveillance capabilities by signing the Open Skies Treaty—providing clear rules on how and when both NATO and Warsaw Pact nations could spy on each other from the sky, while also regulating flight paths for these surveillance missions. Instead it tries to stop them altogether.

Consumer vehicles are a recent addition to the national security equation. But thanks to the globalized economy and modern product development, they are perhaps an even trickier challenge.

As it stands, Teslas are arguably the most connected and widespread of the new generation of vehicles. Not only do they collect massive amounts of data on the driver, from call logs to on-board browser history to average speed and route history, but their outward-looking sensors and cameras can transmit significant information about the surrounding world. .

Early this year, David Colombo, a 19-year-old German programmer, demonstrated that it wasn’t possible to access sensitive data on Tesla customers—it was that simple. Using a third-party application with access to Tesla’s API, Colombo hacked into the systems of more than two dozen Teslas around the world, controlling their locks, windows, and sound systems and downloading a huge bundle of information.

“I was able to see a large amount of data. “Where the Tesla is, where it’s charged, current location, where it usually parks, while driving, travel speed, navigation requests, history of software updates, weather history around the Tesla and much more,” Colombo Posted in Medium post Published in January, it details his exploits.

Although the specific vulnerabilities Colombo took advantage of have been patched, his hack demonstrates a huge flaw at the core of these smart vehicles: sharing data isn’t a bug; It is a feature.

The amount of data Tesla collects and uses is only the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t yet seen fully autonomous vehicles or “smart cities” with 5G-enabled roads and traffic lights.

In the near future, cars will collect information not only about their driver and passengers, but also about the vehicles, pedestrians, and the city around them. A car needs some of that data to function properly—to minimize collisions, plan routes better, and improve vehicles.

“The United States and Europe are asleep at the wheel,” said Tu Le, managing director of Sino Auto Insights. The US, Canada and Europe may continue to be the world leaders in producing conventional vehicles, but that lead will not last long. Whether it’s cobalt mining, lithium battery innovation, 5G-enabled technology or big data analytics, Le says China is several steps ahead of its Western competitors.

“All unrelated things are converging into this smart EV,” Le said.

However, not all of Beijing’s success has come honestly. Accusations were made against Chinese nationals theft Intellectual property from American companies to promote China’s growing industry. Le said that spying certainly helps but is not the main reason for Beijing’s explosive growth in the automotive sector.

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