The Safety Benefits of Classic Cars

It may be dangerous to drive a modern vehicle. I picture a modern car like a World War I biplane, flying over no-man’s land, with attackers swarming all around, while inside a hastily assembled, virtually untested, rickety canvas-and-plywood contraption, built within 10 years of the Wright Brother’s flight at Kitty Hawk. Is that a “smart” vehicle?

At least five million cars can be ‘hacked’ (i.e. are vulnerable to software exploits) and the potential danger thereof is very high. That number of cars with potential vulnerabilities is growing geometrically. [see video below] Many of these cars are so vulnerable that compromising any one of more than a dozen potential attack surfaces can lead to total system takeover. What does that mean? Your brakes could be disabled while you are on the highway. Visualize, if you would, a stealthy penetration of your car’s audio system through its ultra-convenient 4G antenna. Armed with geolocation and telemetry data, an attacker could see where you are, how fast you are going, even measure the G-Forces the passengers are experiencing.  The attacker could then potentially execute a lethal acceleration, braking, or disabling maneuver, as the situation warranted, from anywhere on the globe. Is there an app for that?

Convenience often comes at a cost, but is it really convenience? Here at Life In Car, we think of convenience as bucket seats, hand-stitched leather interiors, crisp mahogany panelling, and the classic fusion of form and function which defines the cars of the classic era. When Life In Car’s mechanics put modern technology into a car, we mean precisely-tuned suspension, variable-condition stabilizer systems, and efficient (or powerful) engines governed by cutting-edge controller chips.

If playing Angry Birds in the Costco parking lot is your thing, who are we to judge? Life In Car firmly believes that instead of creating new risks, we should be soothing the tension out of you, and when you strap into your classic vehicle, you’ll feel like you’re in the cockpit of an F-16. Watch this video to see how drivers of modern cars may feel:


For all the hype, however, such attacks may be extremely hard to execute on a large scale: vulnerabilities are more-or-less vehicle-specific, even for the same manufacturer. Nowadays, Auto companies are basically systems integrators. Vendor components, built to arbitrary specifications are cobbled together, and no two vehicles end up being alike. It opens security holes, but parodoxically makes large-scale attacks impractical… for now. For those inclined here is a more technical (and balanced) video.

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