This is not a commonly known fact, but the software used in cars is made up of two and a half times more row of codes than that seen in Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Such a large number of codes means that it is to be expected that bugs are bound to crop up in cars that depend on such software.


One such example is Toyota, who recently had to recall 1.8 million cars back to the garage worldwide. The reason behind the recall was because a bug in the engine control unit is capable of causing the engine control unit to overheat and malfunction, after which the car cannot be driven. The update that fixes this bug can be installed in 40 minutes, but needs to be done via an authorized mechanic.

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Tesla squashes bugs in its systems in a much more elegant manner, releasing over-the-air updates for its cars. These updates are carried out via radio data transmission, meaning that the car does not need to be sent to a workshop to receive these updates.


Security experts have also been warning car manufacturers about the trend of accessing car electronics systems via laptops as there is a new hacking trend doing just that. At a Black Hat conference, experts such as Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek have proven how easy it is to hack into car electronics.


They manager to take over the Engine Control Unit (ECU), and demonstrated what they call the perfect murder, by hacking the control software of a simulated car. As the car reaches 80km/h, the brakes are disconnected and the accelerator kept increasing the car’s speed. Upon the crash, the software then deletes itself, making it look as if an accident happened as the car went out of control.