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Hackers to Automakers: Protect Cars From Cyberattacks

A group of well-known hackers and security professionals is asking the auto industry to help improve vehicle security. The group, I am the Cavalry, is asking attendees at this weekend's Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas to sign an open letter to "Automotive CEOs" to ask them to implement basic guidelines to defend cars from cyberattacks. "New technology introduces new classes of accidents and adversaries that must be anticipated and addressed proactively," the letter says. "Malicious attackers, software flaws, and privacy concerns are the potential unintended consequences of computer technologies driving this latest round of innovation."

Modern vehicles rely on tiny computers to manage everything form engines and brakes to navigation, air conditioning and windshield wipers. Security experts say it is only a matter of time before malicious hackers are able to exploit software glitches and other vulnerabilities. The Cavalry group is scheduled to make a presentation at Def Con on Saturday about efforts to improve auto security. They will not disclose any specific problems that might embarrass carmakers, said Josh Corman, a security industry professional who co-founded the group a year ago.

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— Reuters and NBC News staff