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US Automotive Industry is Being Targeted by Hackers, FBI Says

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An eye-opening report from the FBI warns of the potential risk hackers pose to the United States automotive industry. In a bulletin sent to a select group of private companies and obtained by CNN, the FBI warned of continuous efforts by hackers who aim to maliciously compromise auto industry computer systems using sophisticated techniques. 

The hackers’ attacks “have resulted in ransomware infections, data breaches leading to the exfiltration of personally identifiable information, and unauthorized access to enterprise networks,” stated by the FBI. “The automotive industry likely will face a wide range of cyber threats and malicious activity in the near future as the vast amount of data collected by Internet-connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles become a highly valued target for nation-state and financially motivated actors,” they added.

The report lists a number of methods used to carry out attacks on automotive companies. One such method includes “phishing” attacks, which involve seemingly legitimate emails that contain malicious attachments. If an employee were to open an infected email, it would allow hackers to propagate into computer systems and steal private data. In addition to the theft of private information, hackers were able to conduct fraudulent wire transfers.

Other instances included employees of private automotive companies falling victim to ransomware, resulting in the loss of access to company data unless a ransom of cryptocurrency was paid to unlock their computer. In one case, an employee paid the ransom, but the attackers failed to turn over the stolen information. 

The FBI plans to continue monitoring the situation in the interest of furthering public-private partnerships. The FBI believes the automotive industry has been the target of such attacks since at least 2018 and does not expect the frequency of attacks to die down anytime soon. 

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