A friend sent me a story the other day about how Chrysler cars could be hacked and controlled. This is not a trifling deal like the Iranian nuke deal either. This is a big important deal if you happen to be driving one of these vehicles that is connected to the Sprint wireless program Uconnect.
Hackers can cut the brakes, shut down the engine, drive it off the road, or make all the electronics go haywire.
But to be fair, it seems that the only reason that the article is about Chrysler products is because the investigators are
a tiny team that lacks the funding to keep buying cars and the time to break into them.
Sprint, as network controller could block the hacks, but has not said if it will do so, just that it is working with Chrysler.
I can save the team some footwork and expense though. Government Motors onStar is a huge liability. At the very least to your privacy, and that’s NOT if it’s hacked. Turns out that onStar collects quite a lot of information on vehicles and sends it to Government Motors. Well, and third parties, not defined or designated. But hacked, why yes indeed. An article came out yesterday that onStar can be hacked and it seems Government Motors is far less willing than Chrysler to acknowledge or discuss fix. Government Motors told the hacker who contacted them it had fixed the vulnerability.
Kamkar said he discussed the fix with representatives from GM, but their efforts failed to thwart the attack method he uncovered, which uses a device he built and dubbed ‘OwnStar.'”
“They have not yet fixed the bug that ‘OwnStar’ is exploiting,” he told Reuters.
I’m shocked, shocked I say. Uh oh.
Beyond that, some people are incredible creatures called “nerds”, and they read changes in things called “Terms and Conditions”. Some of these “nerds” have blogs, where they put in regular people language what these things say. One such “nerd” detailed what he found out about the changes in onStar’s terms and conditions and what it meant for regular humans. Not good stuff, but if you use or have used onStar you might want to give it a read.
The right wing conspiracy publication known as USAToday came out with an article a couple years ago talking about the pending installation of “black boxes” into the moving data collection devices that used to be known as the family car. USAToday does a nice job of detailing what all can and will be collected and again how it can be used. The black boxes are not the same as onStar, this is a separate avenue of data collection. Although we have nothing to fear from this. Nothing at all.
Fears have been “blown out of proportion,” says Mukul Verma, a former top GM safety expert who is now a consultant. “I don’t think there is any chance of it being used or misused without people’s permission.”
Sure makes one wish for the good old fashioned cars doesn’t it? One you could just drive. Yeah, I did when I needed to get a car a couple years ago. I knew exactly what brand I wanted, and hunted and hunted and hunted for one. Most of the dealerships I stopped at or contacted gave me the same information. “I’m sorry ma’am, but since cash for clunkers happened those are hard to find. In fact good used cars that people wanted that they could just buy outright are VERY hard to find. But we have a really nice Chevy Cruze, or this gently used Chevy Volt. If you don’t mind a little singeing, we have almost all the burn smell out of it now. Can give you a really good deal on it.” Ok, I admit, I made up the last part about the Volt, but not the rest of it.
Yep, I do love technology, I really do. I adore my phone, my computer and my tablet. But let’s be honest, they have vulnerabilities. I suppose if you choose to get one of those cars with that kind of technology you can decide for yourself the risk to benefit ratio.
But any time you get something with mechanical moving parts and introduce electronic control into it I think there is probably a risk. We should each get to decide if we take the risk or no.
That being said the last electronic I wish to draw your attention to is the “smart gun”. From Bearing Arms today comes a article about rifles using TrackingPoint technology. A married couple has figured out how to hack into TrackingPoint. They can use a wireless connection to change the information and even the target the gun tells the shooter they are aiming for. Wired details all the work the couple did and what all they can do with it.
Smart gun technology, you know, the kind gun grabbing politicians keep telling us will keep us “safe”. It will prevent the “evil handguns that only have a purpose to kill” from doing so, according to Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who wants them banned. Seeing as how they have no “sporting purpose”. Smart gun technology, like having to wear a special watch to be able to use your gun. What could go wrong with that? Or your gun has to recognize your fingerprint to use your gun. While you may be annoyed your spouse used your toothbrush, I’m pretty sure if they need to use YOUR gun, it is important.
I don’t hate technology, but it does seem we are losing choice in just how much of it is allowed into our daily lives. And it seems to me, that when the direction that push is coming from is the government, the results won’t be good. After all, what could go wrong?
From the Bearing Arms Article
By their computerized nature, any computerized “smart” gun can be rendered inoperable just as the TrackingPoint was in this test, and some smart guns are rumored to have been designed from the ground up to be rendered inoperable with the push of a button by either the manufacturer, or by government itself.
Ok, this one is just for a grin. No “uh oh” honest.