FBI issues car-hacking warning, tells drivers to keep their cars' patch-levels current

More proof that all devices in the modern world are just computers in fancy cases: the FBI's joint warning issued with the DoT and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration tells drivers that they're at risk of local and remote hack-attacks against their cars, and tells them they have to keep their cars' patch-levels current or they'll be in serious danger.

They also warn that leaving your car where strangers can get at it is like leaving your smartphone unattended, and that physical access means the power to hack your car to your grave detriment.

The FBI and DOT's advice includes keeping automotive software up to date and staying aware of any possible recalls that require manual security patches to your car's code, as well as avoiding any unauthorized changes to a vehicle's software and being careful about plugging insecure gadgets into the car's network. Most of those tips stem directly from last year's research demonstrations: After hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek hacked the Jeep in July, Chrysler issued a 1.4 million vehicle recall and mailed USB drives with software updates to affected drivers. And the next month, researchers from the University of California at San Diego showed that a common insurance dongle plugged into a Corvette's dashboard could be hacked to turn on the car's windshield wipers or disable its brakes.

The FBI Warns That Car Hacking Is a Real Risk [Andy Greenberg/Wired]