Purposely stalling 20% of cars in Manhattan could trigger total gridlock

If a hacker targeting connected cars in Manhattan could randomly stall 20% of them during rush hour, total gridlock would ensue. “This isn't just bad traffic where you are an hour late. It becomes impossible to get from point A to point B,” says Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Peter Yunker who ran a study on the "cyberphysical risks of hacked internet-connected vehicles." From IEEE Spectrum:

Not all cars on the road would need to be self-driving and Internet-connected for such paralysis to occur. For example, if 40 percent of all cars on the road in Manhattan were online and autonomous, hacking half of those would suffice.

...Cities without large grids—-Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles, to name a few—were more vulnerable to gridlock from such attacks.

Yunker and his colleagues cautioned that they considered only static situations where roads were either blocked or not blocked. Future research with more dynamic models would likely show that blocked roads would spill traffic over into other roads. Given such effects, it might be possible to trigger gridlock by stalling much less than 20 percent of all cars, Yunker says.

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Thanks to "consent" buried deep in sales agreements, car manufacturers are tracking tens of millions of US cars

Millions of new cars sold in the US and Europe are "connected," having some mechanism for exchanging data with their manufacturers after the cars are sold; these cars stream or batch-upload location data and other telemetry to their manufacturers, who argue that they are allowed to do virtually anything they want with this data, thanks to the "explicit consent" of the car owners -- who signed a lengthy contract at purchase time that contained a vague and misleading clause deep in its fine-print. Read the rest