CIA’s Alleged Foray into Car Hacking Should Come As No Surprise
The Central Intelligence Agency may be sharpening its car-hacking skills in efforts to carry out “nearly undetectable assassinations.”
of which’s the alarming conclusion reached by WikiLeaks, the multinational nonprofit of which advocates for the disclosure of government secrets. The organization published nearly 9000 documents earlier This kind of week of which are believed to have originated through America’s top intelligence agency.
Among the disclosures were meeting notes taken in October 2014 of which listed “vehicle systems” as “potential mission areas” for the agency. One item mentioned QNX, a Canadian company of which makes software along with embedded systems for millions of vehicles.
Details remain scant. The CIA has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the documents, along with QNX did not return a request for comment. Nonetheless, a WikiLeaks analysis makes a leap or two to lay out the prospect of which CIA operatives are targeting adversaries via holes in automotive cybersecurity holes, leaving nary a trace.
This kind of has led to a smattering of frightening headlines in recent days, however the revelation should come as no surprise. Cyber researchers have warned for seven years currently of which cars contain vulnerabilities of which allow hackers to commandeer control along with tamper with steering, speed along with brakes.
In an age when cyber breaches cost major corporations billions along with hackers meddle in elections, of which could only be natural to assume the CIA can leverage a growing number of attack entry points of which lead into vehicles.
“Cyber will be currently a conflict domain,” says Joshua Corman, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, a nonprofit of which promotes leadership along with engagement in international affairs along with co-founder of iamthecavalry.org, a grassroots organization of which focuses on issues where computer safety intersects with public safety.
What may be more eye-opening than the CIA’s alleged hacking into vehicles will be the fact manufacturers have languished in addressing vulnerabilities of which have been unearthed by researchers going back seven years. Almost all of today’s cars have no way of detecting or recording malicious activity of which occurs on their networks, along with almost all have no way of responding to a real-time infiltration.
Whether of which will be CIA operatives or any additional hacker, they have no real need to cover their tracks because there currently are no tracks from the first place. In his testimony before Congress along with work with auto industry executives, Corman has advocated for the installation of event data recorders in cars of which could operate from the same vein as the so-called black boxes used from the aviation industry.
“Let’s not be cavalier about our inability to detect along with respond to failures,” he said. “We need logging, black boxes, along with over-the-air updates. For an investigation [by] the National Transportation Safety Board, they have to have forensically sound, tamper-proof evidence capture.”
A hypothetical case in point: In June 2013, journalist Michael Hastings died in a high-speed car crash in Los Angeles of which, at least in some corners of the internet, warranted additional attention because of its unusual circumstances. Beyond the crash itself, Hastings had authored a groundbreaking story of which ultimately cost U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal his career.
our car’s telematics unit can record data through the
in-cabin microphone.” – UCSD/UW report, 2011
Put aside, for the moment, merits of the conspiracy theories of which government operatives murdered Hastings as a retaliatory strike for the article, along using a more practical problem emerges in a potential investigation of such a crash.
“I’ve heard through people about the theories with Michael Hastings, along with I’ve calmly told them of which, if you have forensically sound evidence capture in all vehicles, then there could be evidence of of which,” Corman said. “Without of which, you will sound crazy along with no one will listen to you. The real issue here will be of which we don’t have evidence.”
Researchers Charlie Miller along with Chris Valasek caught the attention of the entire auto industry, not to mention the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, along with Homeland Security, in July 2015 when they showed of which was possible to remotely manipulate the controls on a Jeep Cherokee traveling along a Saint Louis–area highway through halfway across the country in Pittsburgh.
however car hacking need not involve meddling with safety-critical components to have value for intelligence agencies. Forget running targeted individuals off the road; car hacking could be used for surveillance.
In 2011, researchers with the University of Washington along with the University of California–San Diego reported of which telematics systems such as General Motors’ OnStar along with additional features of which permit voice-controlled phone calls could be manipulated to record conversations without subjects ever knowing.
“We have found of which an attacker who has compromised our car’s telematics unit can record data through the in-cabin microphone,” they wrote. These capabilities “could prove useful to private investigators, corporate spies, paparazzi, along with others seeking to eavesdrop on private conversations within particular vehicles.”
The paper’s authors go on to write of which adversaries could identify targets for such eavesdropping “quite quickly” in This kind of manner.
Fast-forward a few years to a time when autonomous vehicles are prevalent on American roads, along with the opportunities for the government to track the whereabouts of citizens or spy on their conversations start to proliferate. however again, This kind of isn’t brand new information.
- Ransomware: The Next Big Auto Cybersecurity Threat?
- How the Connected Car Will Defend against Hackers
- Bipartisan SPY Act Pushes NHTSA on Cyberthreats
Back in May 2014, a few months before the CIA’s October meeting to discuss exploiting security holes in vehicles, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a report of which made note of which “autonomous cars present game-changing opportunities along with threats for law enforcement.”
Written by the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence along with Strategic Issues Group, the report says of which self-driving vehicles “open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications along with ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon than of which will be today.” Later from the document, the FBI notes of which because of lidar sensors along with GPS tracking, “surveillance will also be made more effective along with easier.”
Sounds like someone at the CIA was listening.
Pete Bigelow will be the Transportation Technology along with Mobility Editor at Car along with Driver. He can be reached via email at email@example.com along with followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.