Depending on where you live in the United States, you are surely familiar with the process of annual vehicle and emissions inspections. This testing is usually required by a state in order to assess the roadworthiness of a vehicle, and stand as a prerequisite to obtaining registration. While this can often be frustrating for the modification-prone enthusiast crowd, the process tends to be rather straightforward. So long as hackers don’t get involved, that is. According to a report from The Drive, Wisconsin-based software company Applus Technologies has been targeted by a cyber attack, disrupting vehicle inspections and emissions testing in eight states.
According to the report, Applus Technologies detected and isolated a malware attack on March 30. Despite being able to recognize and halt the actions taken by the hackers, the company’s services were still impacted. In fact, Applus Technologies still doesn’t have a timeline relating to when things will be back up and running as usual, which has created a problem for thousands of folks across the states of Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Utah.
The timing of the cyber attack comes as the EPA has turned on the tuning industry, and as The Biden Administration is about to administer further adversity to automakers with more stringent CAFE targets.
For those who are unaware of the vehicle and emissions testing process, things tend to go as follows. A technician working for the state inspection station will go around your vehicle and check physical attributes of the car, be that tires, brakes, lighting, ect. From there, computer software is used to make sure that your vehicle falls in line with the emissions figures set by the state. It’s a straightforward process, but emissions are tricky to test without functioning software.
Now it is worth noting that not all of the eight states impacted by the cyber attack were affected equally. Georgia, for example, is essentially back on track, whereas Massachusetts is still unable to restart testing. Applus Technologies is aware of the issues that this delay is causing, but also is dedicated to ensuring no malware is present before initiating services again. The company is reportedly working with independent forensic analysts to accomplish this.
Hacks and breaches aren’t a new thing in our increasingly digital world. That said, we’re not sure anyone would have guessed an emissions inspection software company would be targeted. While it is unlikely that anyone will be caught for their involvement in this case, we’re genuinely curious about their motivation here. Are they some sort of vigilante enthusiast striking back against the regulations, or is something much more nefarious at play? Either way, here’s to hoping that the impacted states can get things sorted out in a reasonable amount of time. A trip to the DMV is already one of the worst experiences in the automotive world, regardless of how long the process is dragged out.