The popularity of using an electronic scooter to get around is growing in popularity in the United States. Companies like Bird and Lime are valued at $2 and $1.1 billion, give or take. The focus associated with the security of this mode of transportation has not been that of a cyber nature, but of a physical nature.
Requirements have been publicized by the CDC regarding the safety that a driver of an electronic scooter needs to take, but they have not addressed the fact that these drivers are susceptible to a lot more than a scraped knee. The risk of cyber-attack on these scooters is extremely high, and studies are now being done to see just how vulnerable they could be to a hacker’s attack.
If a hacker is malicious enough, they could lock down the entire electronic scooter, making it inoperable. A higher level of cybersecurity risk being associated with these scooters is the fact that information can be gleaned from them. A hacker could find out all kinds of personal information regarding the driver or even the charger of one of these scooters.
The largest potential for the entry of a hacker is the Bluetooth connection between the smartphone and the scooter’s system. This is a low energy channel that is susceptible to prying eyes and listening ears (figuratively speaking) and offers the perfect gateway for a hacker to intercept.
Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio are studying these potential security and privacy risks that are associated with the electronic scooter. The article covers the fact that for $32 and the wait for a package from China you can replace out the circuit board and make a rented scooter your own personal scooter. The increase in the vandalism of scooters rented by companies like Bird and Lime.
There are a lot of places where scooters haven’t been hacked or even shown the potential to being hacked. The cheaper the scooter, the more vulnerable it will be. On college campuses, companies like Gotcha are operating the market of scooters and bikes. They have not noticed any problems. Their biggest worry does seem to be that it is possible for a hacker to get the user information and data.
The overall take from the articles is that electronic scooters have their cybersecurity risks, the largest being personal information and location information of the driver. These are all things that will have to be sorted out as the industry progresses.