Could Hackers Bring Gridlock Chaos To UK’s Roads?

Tue 30th Jul 2019

Computer hackers in the near future could freeze the UK’s road networks if the security of automated car technology is compromised say leading experts.

A new American study has found that cyber criminals who manage to infiltrate the software of an automated car such as a Tesla, could effectively hijack the car and bring ‘total traffic freeze’.

The study by the Georgia Institute of Technology found that by shutting down just 20 per cent of vehicles in cities such as London and New York could cause fatal crashes and bring emergency services to a standstill.

Though many cities in the US are based on grid systems, hence the term gridlock, these road networks are usually devised to avoid roads getting too blocked. But other cities are not so fortunate says the study’s co-leader, Professor Peter Yunker: Unlike most of the data breaches we hear about, hacked cars have physical consequences.

“‘Manhattan has a nice grid, and that makes traffic more efficient.

“Looking at cities without large grids like Atlanta, Boston, or Los Angeles, and we think hackers could do worse harm because a grid makes you more robust with redundancies to get to the same places down many different routes.”

Jesse Silverberg who also worked on the study suggested that the central automated system which connects all cars is a problem in itself, saying: With cars, one of the worrying things is that currently there is effectively one central computing system, and a lot runs through it.

“You don’t necessarily have separate systems to run your car and run your satellite radio.

“If you can get into one, you may be able to get into the other.”