McAfee says hackers may target vehicles next

By on September 7, 2011, 4:00 PM

A new report from security software provider McAfee suggests that your car might soon be the next target for hackers. The company has partnered with Wind River in releasing a PDF outlining the potential danger that hackers present to the growing number of connected vehicles.

In a section titled Car Hacks Exposed, McAfee highlights research conducted last year by the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington. In one study, the group demonstrated that key safety components could be compromised if a hacker had physical access to the vehicle’s electronics system using a proof-of-concept software called CarShark.

The team was later able to extend the same scenario to remotely mount attacks using Bluetooth. With this method a hacker could potentially gain access to any Bluetooth-connected device inside a vehicle such as a smartphone or a tablet.

Another study from the University of South Carolina and Rutgers University demonstrated it was possible to hack into RFID tags that modern vehicles use to receive pressure data from small sensors inside tires. Such an attack could be used to track a vehicle, although there are no known cases of this in the field.

Perhaps the most concerning information from the study comes when one combines the CarShark attack with a wireless attack. In this instance, a hacker could manipulate a vehicle-immobilization system and disable an auto remotely. Vehicle-immobilization systems are currently used as theft deterrent devices.

How do you feel about this? One one hand, the threat is plausible as researchers have demonstrated it. On the flip side, could McAfee be "reaching" with this data and positioning themselves for a run at making antivirus software for your car?




User Comments: 18

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Jibberish18 said:

On the flip side, could McAfee be "reaching" with this data and positioning themselves for a run at making antivirus software for your car?

The day I have to install antivirus into my car is the day I don't drive anymore.

Nima304 said:

Jibberish18 said:

On the flip side, could McAfee be "reaching" with this data and positioning themselves for a run at making antivirus software for your car?

The day I have to install antivirus into my car is the day I don't drive anymore.

Who'd buy McAfee for their car anyway? Their regular PC antivirus sucks enough, why would I put that crap in my car?

Guest said:

On the flip side, could McAfee be "reaching" with this data and positioning themselves for a run at making antivirus software for your car?

That made me laugh.

Guest said:

rip out the ridiculous OEM PCM and put in a stand alone unit, problem solved..

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Why were you late?"

"My car crashed."

"OMG, are you ok?"

"No! I had to reinstall the OS."

SammyJames said:

gwailo247 said:

"Why were you late?"

"My car crashed."

"OMG, are you ok?"

"No! I had to reinstall the OS."

HA! I like that...

By the way -- am I the only person here who believes that this might be just TOO much chicken little, and not enough USDA prime scare rib? Seriously -- if hackers start hacking vehicles, how do THEY know that they themselves might not end up being street piizza?

The whole thing seems a bit over-cooked, under-done, half-baked, whatever. And you're right -- McAfee? Come on. Weren't they the guys talkin' BS about something else a few weeks back...? Sorry -- my brain is getting hyper-fried on all of this security hack blah-blah news. It makes my head spin.

It does make one want to pull the cord out of tne, the antenna off the back of the netbook, and start using the (*ulp*) CD that comes WITH THE Plug-n-play product...

- S

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've always wondered if cars with OnStar could be compromised, but I don't think hackers terrorizing motorists is anything to be immediately concerned with.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

gwailo247 said:

"Why were you late?"

"My car crashed."

"OMG, are you ok?"

"No! I had to reinstall the OS."

If it could come to this, would it not be possible to simply hi-jack a car and crash it into a nearby river or a canal or a building? This makes one wonder that how many people would hire someone to hack/crash their Boss's car .......

Guest said:

I am sorry the whole article is a pile of shite full of WHAT IFs. WHAT IF a hacker gained physical access to the hubble OMG WHAT IF WHAT IF.

Guest said:

Over-staffed and under-worked with nothing to do.

caravel said:

It's just more of the same typical scaremongering from the Virus Industry...

Guest said:

Just make sure you close all of the open windows and you'll be fine.

Guest said:

LOL.... ok then.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

it's a good laugh yet a real threat that we shouldn't deny at all...

It could make up a good B cat Hollywood movie ... a hacker blocks all cars at once causing massive crash all over the world :P .. oh sorry, exist already!

So we'd better be careful, I shall buy an old car model then from the 70s :P

cheers!

Tomorrow_Rains said:

install gentoo in your car.

Guest said:

I'd rather see Techspot not post any news coming from McAfee. That company makes the worst antivirus product on the market. Definitely not a trustworthy news source.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

I don't see hackers going after cars with the intention of crashing them. The majority of hackers are either after money, or just making mischief. I don't know of any that have actually hurting people physically on their agendas.

The worst we will see is new high tech grand theft auto. In any event, it's nothing to be alarmed about.

superty12 superty12 said:

McAfee = DIRTY LIARS!

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