“The industry will need to be very alert to the risk of cyber manipulation and attack.”

Security firm warns of cyber attacks on Google driverless cars

Following the news that Google is set to produce its own fleet of driverless cars, KPMG warns that there is potential for ‘spam jams’ and hacker-driven congestion.

Earlier this week, Google unveiled a car with a top speed of 25mph, two seats and no pedals or steering wheel.

The firm has begun testing the electrically powered vehicle around its headquarters in California and says the principal aim of the project is to improve safety claiming the impact-absorbing foam and plastic windscreen ‘should be far safer than any other car for pedestrians’.

“There is an almost perfect combination of good reasons for self-drive technology,” commented director of KPMG’s cyber security team, Wil Rockall.

“Top of the list is safety because humans are unreliable, easily distracted and have vastly slower reaction times than software. With a computer brain at the wheel, driving will also be more efficient meaning that environmental and economic benefits will quickly be noticed.

“For all the positives, the industry will need to be very alert to the risk of cyber manipulation and attack.

“Self-drive cars will probably work through internet connectivity and, just as large volumes of electronic traffic can be routed to overwhelm websites, the opportunity for self-drive traffic being routed to create ‘spam jams’ or disruption is a very real prospect.”

Rockall adds that it’s important that overrides are built in so that drivers can shut down many of the car’s capabilities if hacked.

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