WIRED reporter Andy Greenburg experienced this terror first-hand, though he was expecting it to happen. In fact, he’s already had two run-ins with this type of hack. The first time was in 2013, when researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek accompanied Greenburg as he drove a Ford Escape. As he reports, “they sat in the backseat with their laptops, cackling as they disabled my brakes, honked the horn, jerked the seat belt, and commandeered the steering wheel.” This doesn’t sound like something you’d want to happen while driving on the highway; that much is for certain.
Two years later, and this is precisely what happened the second time Greenburg met up with the researchers. Miller and Valasek instructed Greenburg to drive on the highway while they remotely hacked the vehicle. The only issue is that he didn’t know when the attack would strike. Still, they assured him that they wouldn’t try anything life-threatening, but when you’re faced with a vehicle that you have practically no control over, that’s a little hard to believe. The two succeeded, taking over the air conditioning, spamming the windshield wipers, and blaring Kanye West (the self-proclaimed “greatest living rock star in the world,” mind you) at maximum volume. They then mercilessly cut the transmission and brakes, which abruptly ended Greenburg’s ride down Interstate 64.
Yes, that’s right. Hackers can remotely mess with your vehicles if they really want to. The code used by Miller and Valasek is designed to use the Jeep’s entertainment console as a jumping point, issuing commands to the dashboard functions, steering wheel, brakes, and even the transmission. Though the code is only in the possession of the researchers (for the time being), you can bet that hackers are always looking for ways to profit off of the misfortune of others, and it’s only a matter of time before they find a practical use for hacks just like this one, and much more.
Following this troublesome vulnerability being exposed, there was a recall on the Jeep Cherokees affected by this code, though Chrysler wasn’t able to locate a definitive defect. Either way, such a drastic stunt only proves how technology is pushing toward greater communications without paying equal attention to security. In order to avoid the “crash and burn” aspect of The Internet of Things, it’s imperative that you take action now before it’s too late to do so.
This means that, as a business owner, it’s up to you to take the proper precautions to shield your organization’s network from potentially malicious activity. Integrating powerful security solutions is one way you can make accessing your network easy for your employees, but difficult for any unauthorized devices. Give us a call at (831) 758-3636 to learn more about how you can take the first steps toward protecting your business from rogue devices.