No more jimmying doors with a Slim Jim, bricks through windows, extracting lock cylinders with a dent puller, or hot-wiring ignitions. Automobiles today are being built to include wireless capabilities that allow for remote unlock, remote start, and of course, there’s global positioning systems (GPS) and services like OnStar and ATX, which offer “telematics,” or information and communications technology. While these services appear relatively secure, researchers in controlled environments are searching for vulnerabilities.
OnStar offers “RemoteLink,” an application for the iPhone or Android, which allows Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, or GMC owners to view real-time data including fuel range, gallons of gas remaining, lifetime miles per gallon (MPG), lifetime mileage, remaining oil life, tire pressure, and account information. Chevrolet Volt owners can view their car’s electric range, electric miles, MPG, and the battery’s state of charge. Users can also use the application to remotely perform certain commands, such as unlocking doors.
While all this new technology provides us with convenience and useful information, it may also leave use open to risk. Researchers in San Francisco have been able to access a car’s central computer processor through an Internet-connected car alarm, and in Seattle, researchers “blacked out the make and model of a car that offered multiple pathways for hackers a thousand miles away to send out GPS coordinates, open the doors, and have a colleague drive away without a key in the ignition.” And a New Jersey man has developed an iPhone app that lets him unlock cars and start engines by voice.
As with most technological advances, functionality and form come well before security. But now that researchers have demonstrated the frightening vulnerabilities inherent in cars’ computers, automobile manufacturers are working with companies like McAfee to develop firewalls that will protect the latest high-tech vehicles from hackers and thieves.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. See him discussing identity theft on YouTube.(Disclosures)
About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- Cars in the Cloud
People love their cars. My 80-year-old mother-in-law goes nutty at the thought of not being able to drive. “Take my car and you take my freedom,” she says. I understand where she is coming from. Personally, I don’t like to drive. But I do like riding my Harley!
Many consider cars synonymous with freedom. Cars allow
- Like Mom Said, “Don’t Open the Door for Strangers”
Someone successfully posing as a health inspector, police officer or even a Secret Service agent happens every single day. Posing as a water inspector, I once gained access to people’s homes by saying I needed to “check the colorization of their water,” as I demonstrated on The Montel Williams Show here. A fake badge and a
- Protect Your Automobile from Theft
Ever have your car stolen? I have. When I walked into the restaurants parking lot my car wasn’t in the spot where I parked. At first I thought maybe I forgot where I parked it. Then an empty feeling came over me and I knew it was stolen. When the police arrived I asked them
- How to Spend More Money on Home Security
Lets face it, if you had it you’d spend it, and what better way than on your families security! In today’s high tech connected world a networked and remotely monitored home security system is the way to go.
Keyless Access: Door locks that require a pincode make it easier to access without fumbling for keys.
- Awareness Based Security Initiatives
When something bad happens in a neighborhood, like burglaries, car theft or violence, the residents will often “react.” First thing they do is call the local home security alarm dealer, then a locksmith and maybe the local police to give a speech. For some, this may be the first time they lock their doors.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.