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FraudWit Automotive Highlight: The Chevy Citation & Automotive Cyberattacks

The Chevy Citation makes many lists for worst vehicle. Running in production from 1980 to 1985, this car came in two door, three door and five door "notch back" configurations and a few different engine options with horsepower topping out under 140 horsepower.

The Citation is not a head turner. It is a mundane car, especially in beige. While it won the 1980 Motor Trend car of the year (they were given a special model for testing), sales decreased every year it was in production; it nearly ruined General Motor's reputation. The Citation, along with other GM products using the same platform, was notorious for rust. Interior pieces fell off because of the weak glue that was used. Fuel and break lines leaked, the suspension was terrible, and the engines and transmissions had their own problems. Sometimes the brakes would go out. So, not exactly a model of reliability.

Then we come to the name...Citation. It is somewhat ironic of a name because with a 0-60 time of 12+ seconds it would be kind of hard to get a traffic citation. This vehicle just doesn't have a lot going for it.

So why is a fraud blog taking time to highlight and describe such a car? Despite all of its flaws (and it had many), the Chevy Citation is a model that is impenetrable to vehicle ransomware...can't happen... impossible. Cyberattacks, no.

Granted, vehicle ransomware isn't a problem right now. But looking ahead there will be an intersection of automotive connectivity and cyber attack attempts associated with it. Whether they are successful or not remains undetermined. Sustainability of attack is another consideration. Will vehicle cyberattacks generate a lot of awareness if not backlash against the crime?

If it were as simple as not being able to start your car, the inconvenience would be enormous and expensive, but not necessarily dangerous. Consumers would, understandably, blame the car makers for failing to protect their autos from the risk. But ransomware is just one potential attack vector. Just imagine your new 2030 sports car is parked outside your house. You go out to marvel at the beautiful design lines and colorful paint, only to see it backing out of the drive with no one at the wheel. It drives away and gives you a beep beep as it cruises to its new owner who hacked into it. Sad, you spent a lot of time saving for that ride.

A more sinister attack could disconnect or take over the vehicles while driving, creating dangerous road conditions for both connected and unconnected cars, motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. This could easily border on and cross into murder or terrorism. And the backlash to the hackers for this scenario could be severe (and justifiably so). We aren't just talking about financial theft. This would be a danger to human lives.

Will we ever get to that point? Hopefully not. But with automated driving modes and connectivity progressing fast, it is far less science fiction than reality at this point. Hopefully the Chevrolet Citation's one redemptive quality can remain mainstream (as it is obviously not the only unconnected car) and we can let it drift further into automotive mockery and obscurity.

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to operate your motor vehicle in times of automotive cyberattack:

Thanks for reading.

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