10 Nightmare Scenarios From the Internet of Things

Christine on Steroids
View through the windshield of the 2013 Tesla Model S as the Google self-driving car motors along the San Francisco freeway. © Car Culture/Car Culture/Corbis

Tired after a long day at work, you sit back in your self-driving car, flip on the stereo, close your eyes and try to unwind. But the drive feels wrong -- an unfamiliar pothole here, a few too many turns there -- and you soon open your eyes to discover that you don't know where you are. As a sinking feeling comes over you, you try to activate manual control, but you're locked out. The doors won't unlock either.

Desperate, you glance at the speedometer and contemplate your chances of surviving a bailout, assuming you can break the safety glass. But before you can muster your courage, a cold voice comes over your speakers, warning you not to struggle. You've been taken, and Liam Neeson is nowhere in sight.

As our cars continue their evolution into fully computerized, networked and self-driving vehicles, the road is paved for our beloved transports to turn into machines of murder, mayhem, stalking and kidnapping. A few spoofed sensors or hacked controllers are all it would take to blow your tires or to turn your vehicle into a speeding weapon of metal and rubber. As for stalking and robbery, thieves already know how to break into your car, use its GPS "home" setting to locate your house and rob it [source: Woodyard]. Imagine what they will be able to do once it's fully networked.