From Carjacking to CarHacking
By Bahwan CyberTek, August 23, 2017
You just bought a new car and you are very impressed with its performance and the sophisticated technology that is powering it. Being a fully-loaded model, it has remote control features, allowing you to control it from a distance; for example, you can start your car without even touching it, remotely open the door, instruct it to park in a pre-programmed parking space, etc.,
These new features leave you enticed with the car. But then one day, when you are on the road driving at high speeds, your car stops, all of a sudden. And at that very moment, you receive a call from an unknown number. You are slightly flustered and bemused as you pick the call; a stranger’s voice from the other side says, he just hacked your car and unless you pay a ransom amount, he would permanently disable your car.
I know what you’re thinking – And yes, it is entirely possible in today’s technologically advanced world.
“If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic – being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.”
Welcome to the era of Automobile Hackers! A skilled hacker can hack in and carjack your car without even being in the vicinity! The irony – the hacker uses the very concept of all those remote functionalities that you so adored, against you.
Gone are the good old days of crowbars and jack-knives!
Any car manufactured now, comes out with 100 million lines of code embedded to support the myriad functionalities of comfort the car offers. Cars are also connected to the internet and several virtual databases and records, bringing with it, related vulnerabilities. All that the hacker has to do is to identify these records, and hack some code; as easy as 1-2-3.
If we aren’t careful with the technology that supports this – IoT – we might be heading down a very slippery slope.
“Despite continued security problems, the IoT will spread and people will become increasingly dependent on it. The cost of breaches will be viewed like the toll taken by car crashes, which have not persuaded very many people not to drive.”
Although we can never ignore the benefits of such game-changing technology, we also have to learn to build walls against the new social dangers – the weeds with the crop.