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Friday, July 26, 2013

Test: Was Michael Hastings murdered by car hack?

Reporter has his own car hacked in test, turns out it’s quite easy.

This is from The Blaze, go there for pics and video and the rest of the story:

Don’t Think Your Car Can Be Hacked? Watch This Terrifying Video

Jul. 26, 2013 9:17am Jonathon M. Seidl

If you’re at all the slightest bit skeptical of the emerging capability of hackers to take control of your electronic devices, then don’t watch this video. Why? Because you may never drive your car again after you see how a couple of government-funded tech guys were able to hack into, and take control of, one reporter’s vehicle — while he was driving it.

The experiment was the product of Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg, who wanted to see just how vulnerable cars are to hacking by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, two researchers who reseived an $80,000 grant from the Pentagon’s research wing, DARPA, to study such vulnerabilities. The scary answer — shown in a video report — to how vulnerable is “very.”

Take for example that Miller, while plugged into the car’s computer system in the back seat — could do things like change how much fuel the car appears to have, alter the speedometer reading, actually turn the steering wheel, honk the horn, and even mess with the brakes:

Greenberg describes the capabilities of the hackers this way [emphasis added]:…

…“Academics have shown you can get remote code execution,” Valasek, told Greenberg. “We showed you can do a lot of crazy things once you’re inside.”

Forbes sums up just what that consists of in a graphic:

Forbes shows how a car can be hacked

Forbes posted a graphic showing exactly what the hackers did during the experiment. (Source: Forbes)

The capability comes at a time when some are theorizing the car-accident death of journalist Michael Hastings is suspicious. Hastings is the former Rolling Stone reporter who died in a fiery car wreck this summer after apparently sending an email that he was working on a big story. He is also the journalist whose reporting led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

To be clear, neither Forbes nor the researchers insinuated their work could explain the crash. But many will certainly find it interesting.

“Imagine you’re driving down a highway at 80 ,” Valasek tells Greenberg in his report. “You’re going into the car next to you or into oncoming traffic. That’s going to be bad times.”

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