Culture

Grand Theft Auto, Cyber-style

Scientists are seriously trying to prove evildoers can do some mighty malicious stuff to your auto. Some of it sounds straight out of a James Bond movie, like taking control of your car while it’s speeding down the highway. In response, auto-makers have promised to beef-up cyber-security for your dashboard.  A new study, however, hints at what the real problem really is—auto theft.

The London police, for one, have documented a surging cyber-crime spree. “Last year,” the London Metropolitan Police reported, “over 6,000 cars and vans across London were stolen without the owners’ keys.” The most common technique, the police explained, was using “a device which bypasses the vehicle’s electronic information as the owner locks it, or they break into the vehicle and connect a device to the OBD port, downloading the vehicle’s information onto a blank key in a matter of seconds.” Their “key” disables the car’s security system. Then, the thieves just drive away. It couldn’t be simpler.

One solution to thwart cyber-car thieves is to outfit your auto with an on-board diagnostic lock. The London police also produced a short video with some other suggestions.

But hey, this is the new normal: if you can put a computer on it, someone will figure out how to mess with it—and someone else will have to figure out how to mess with them.

Welcome to living in the everyday cyber-world.

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