In the 2010 incident, the hackers worked near the car. In the 2015 attack, the hackers were in Pittsburgh controlling a vehicle in St. Louis.
Fiat Chrysler, the maker of Jeeps, has now recalled 1.4 million vehicles to patch the cybersecurity problem. The problems will get even bigger as the industry equips their products with more computing power. A recent KPMG study found that the average new car in 2015 has between 40 and 50 computers that run 20 million lines of software code, more than a Boeing 787.
Mark Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has urged the industry to set cybersecurity standards and avoid government regulation.
But two Democratic senators, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, have introduced a bill that would force the industry to seal off critical computers and add technology to stop hackers in real time.
Stefan Savage, a UC San Diego computer science professor, who participated in the 2010 hack said that some forward-looking companies like Tesla have hired cybersecurity officers who have the power to make changes in car design. Most others, he said, are moving slowly. Savage believes that all automakers will accelerate plans for instant Internet software updates to combat destructive hackers.