Saturday, March 20, 2010

Big Brother Has the Power to...turn off your car

Turn off your car?  What?

As our world becomes more automated and every day gadgets are infused with computer machinery, you are more at risk of a glitch, or worse.

Over 100 car owners in Austin, TX had the worst surprise ever recently.   Cars began behaving badly - they would not turn on or the horns were honking.

How could this happen?

Many consumers have no idea that their dealerships are installing a little black box on cars.  This little black box allows the dealerships to disable YOUR car if you fall behind on payments.  It is the modern day alternative to the Repo Man.

The culprit? Not a technology glitch but a ticked off employee who had been fired.  Police in Austin's High Tech Crime Unit arrested 20 year old, Omar Ramos-Lopez.  Police tracked him down using access logs and then tracing the traffic back to his IP address.

Martin Garcia, Texas Auto Center manager where Omar worked said, "Omar was pretty good with computers".  Really?  Maybe Mr. Garcia was taken out of context, let's hope so.

I have said it before, sometimes the greatest risk in cybersecurity is the INSIDER THREAT - from the model employee to the displaced employee.

They can put Ramos in jail but until businesses address the risk of insider threat, Ramos will not be the last.

This leaves another question open, if Ramos was able to access the system using another employee's account, what could someone with a real plan have done to immobilize drivers?

Who needs an EMP (electomagnetic pulse) to take out computer systems when you can just hack into devices?

Comments?  Questions?  Please send me your reaction to this story.

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