Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hacking Cars

This is actually something I have been wondering about for a while, and considering as a plot element for a mystery or thriller:
Researchers Show How a Car’s Electronics Can Be Taken Over Remotely

With a modest amount of expertise, computer hackers could gain remote access to someone’s car — just as they do to people’s personal computers — and take over the vehicle’s basic functions, including control of its engine. . . .

Because many of today’s cars contain cellular connections and Bluetooth wireless technology, it is possible for a hacker, working from a remote location, to take control of various features — like the car locks and brakes — as well as to track the vehicle’s location, eavesdrop on its cabin and steal vehicle data, the researchers said. They described a range of potential compromises of car security and safety.
Imagine that as the heroine drives down a lonely, snowy road in the midwinter darkness, her engine suddenly dies and the doors lock themselves. . . then a sinister electronic voice comes over the car's sound system and tells her that considering the outside temperature she has no more than four hours to live if she does not follow these instructions precisely. . . .

Listening to people in the car is one I had not considered, but I gather that can be done remotely with any standard cell phone. So turn yours off before you describe the details of your conspiracy to overthrow capitalism or break into Langley.

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