When CNBC asked Finan if the Nice attack could be replicated elsewhere with an autonomous truck, his answer was an unequivocal "yes."
"The hypothetical of remote reprogramming is plausible," he said. "You could have a malicious actor or group that would reprogram a truck and use it as a missile as a way to target bystanders."
Finan added that one way of preventing such hacks was to use open-source technology, which is available to be viewed and updated by anyone from the general public, in a truck's programming.
"If you use open-source technology, you get millions of eyes on it, instead of just a few, on the type of bugs that hackers would exploit," he said. "In general, open-source code tends to be more secure, because you have so many people looking at it and finding flaws more quickly."
Finan hastened to add that while the scenario is possible, it's unlikely to transpire anytime soon, due to jihadists' attitude toward technology.
"This isn't something people need to freak out about happening tomorrow with radical Islamists," he said. "They view cyberspace as a recruiting space, not as a threat delivery system. It's very possible that in the future that could change, but they've got very many people willing to be programmed to die carrying out these attacks."
—By Daniel Bukszpan, special to CNBC.com