DARPA Hacks and Hijacks Car on 60 Minutes

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A 60 minutes story will feature the head of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, Dan Kaufman. Mr. Kaufman will speak on the security of the internet and devices connected to it (“The Internet of Things”). Many things we would never think are connected to some sort of network really are. This is becoming more and more common as even power lines are being used to send and receive data by everyday devices. Kaufman commented on this.

“Today, all the devices that are on the Internet – the ‘Internet of Things’ – are fundamentally insecure. There is no real security going on”

One of the things Kaufman will demonstrate in this upcoming 60 Minutes is how new automobiles are connected to networks which may be hacked remotely. Kaufman and his team use nothing more than a laptop computer to hack into a car being driven by someone. Kaufman then demonstrates how nearly all of the cars functions were completely under his control, including braking and acceleration.

This 60 Minutes will air on Sunday, Feb. 8th at 7pm ET/PT , read more about it on the CBS news article here.

Computer experts such as Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the Univeristy of California say that any modern vehicles computer system made by any manufacturer can be hacked. Savage claims he and other colleagues have conducted experiments from up to 1,000 miles away where as he says

“We could listen to conversations in the car, and could take over everything in the drivetrain, like acceleration and brakes, through a cellular network.”

If the government can do this you can bet that they have and will use it. And if computer science professors are able to hack into cars over cellular networks then no doubt there are many others who are able to. Is the convenience of having your car connected to a network worth it?

This story reminds me of the Michael Hastings car crash. Hastings was a Rolling Stone journalist who had expressed fear he was under surveillance and that his car had been tampered with before he died in a car crash under very suspicious circumstances.

See more on the Michael Hastings case

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