There are all sorts of dangerous drivers on the open road. There's bad drivers, drunk drivers, distracted drivers ... and now there's a new danger to add to that list: hacked drivers.
You see, back in 2013, security writer Andy Greenberg showed us how hackers can take control of a connected car using only a laptop. Then, a two-man team of hackers - Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek - were able to disable the brakes, honk the horn, jerk a seatbelt and take over the steering wheel. Click here to see the video.
This year, the same team is back in action, and what the hackers were able to accomplish is even more terrifying. Lucky for us, it was all detailed in an article called "Hackers remotely kill a Jeep on the Highway - With Me in it."
During a test drive on a Jeep Cherokee being driven by Greenberg, Miller and Valasek were able to hack the vehicle's Uconnect entertainment system to do seemingly harmless things like take over Greenberg's radio, play with the windshield wipers and blast the air conditioning.
But here's where it gets scary. They could also cut the transmission and stop the accelerator, completely disabling Greenberg's car on a bridge with no shoulder. Watch the video of the car hack below to get a full idea of how dangerous these attacks really are.
It's scary, that's for sure. And videos like this one are the reason why Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are set to introduce a new bill with digital security standards for cars and trucks on July 21.
Should you be worried? So far the only vehicle Miller and Valasek have tested the software on is the Jeep Cherokee. However, according to the team's estimations, any car with Uconnect from late 2013 to 2015 is vulnerable.
Uconnect appears in cars from Fiat Chrysler, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram and SRT. It's estimated that up to 471,000 cars and trucks could be at risk.
Fortunately, Miller and Valasek have been working with Chrysler, and it has issued a Uconnect patch that fixes the problem. To see if your vehicle is at risk, head to the Uconnect site and look up your car's VIN. If your car is vulnerable, you'll be able to download the patch.
Meanwhile, Miller and Valasek plan on presenting their findings at the upcoming Black Hat conference in Las Vegas in August. By publishing their findings and sharing them with other good-guy hackers, they hope that more car models are properly researched, tested and patched sooner than if it's just the two of them working on the project.