July 25, 2015 by gregrabidoux2013
The idea sounded “smart” as high-tech upgrades often do.
Design and deliver a truly “smart car” that its owner can synchronize to his or her lap-top, IPhone or Apple Tablet. That way you can have the engine of your brand, spanking new Jeep Cherokee running, the heater blowing. your fave music mix blaring and the defroster, well de-frosting, all while you gulp down the last drop of your home-brewed Latte-Mocha, and here’s the, pardon the old-fashioned car term-key:
You can do this while still basking in the warmth of your apartment and savoring the snugness of your own sofa.
Your “Smart-Car” modern day chariot awaits.
But here’s the rub-Just like the old song asserts, “Everything you can do, I can do better,” auto-hackers can and are doing any and everything they want. To your car.
You may have purchased your car and signed the loan but hackers are in the virtual driver’s seat.
Think I am exaggerating?
Recently, Auto Industry Review, Car & Driver, and Autosecure Inc., all conducted security hacking tests on various new makes and models of so-called “smart cars.” These included, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota, Hyundai and Chrysler vehicles.
The tests essentially all involved the following:
Hackers were provided with the make and model of the vehicle as well as the license plate (All of which by the way, a real hacker can get as easily as walking past your car in the Wal-Mart parking lot).
The owner/driver was then instructed to simply start his or her car and go for a drive. Their choice.
Within an average of 4 minutes strange and frightening things started happening outside the parameters of the driver’s control. Lights went on and off, music was changed, AC/heating was sent spiraling up or down, and then the real “show-stoppers” began. Direction of the vehicle, speed and even brake power was no longer in the control of each driver.
The hackers assumed complete control of each vehicle and they never left the comfy confines of their couch.
In each case (since it was a controlled experiment) the vehicles were all stranded alongside the road each had been travelling. Resistance was futile. They could no longer even start or for that matter stop the car. The auto-hackers now had the con.
It may get worse.
Auto industry technicians have warned the National Transportation Safety Administration that even an average skilled auto-hacker can transfer all the codes and overrides of a “smart car” to him or herself. The bottom-line-the next time you go to drive your “smart car” it may no longer be under your control OR it may be nowhere to be found, nestled securely in the garage of your friendly neighborhood auto-hacker.
I know, it’s all too clear now-You should have taken that advanced IT hacking course when you had the chance.
Automakers and retailers have recently launched a multi-million dollar marketing blitz designed to reassure all current and would-be “smart car” owners that the “water” is still safe and don’t delay buying into all the modern-day car convenience.
May I simply encourage all of us to arm ourselves with the facts before we take the high-tech plunge?
And really, was starting your car the old-fashioned way with a metal key just simply unbearably fatiguing?
Smart Cars that run from your tablet may just be a really dumb idea.
Unless of course, auto hacking is your hobby.