Tuesday, October 09, 2007

To every feature there is a counter-feature

GM announced today that they're adding a new feature to OnStar, which will allow an operator to remotely disable a stolen car. Sounds reasonable - they say it will gradually slow it down, to prevent high speed police chases. See coverage on CNN Money, ABC News, and many others.

How long will it take before some less than ethical person hacks into the OnStar system and starts remotely disabling cars? There's already something of a motivation, in that OnStar can unlock the car doors remotely, which would be useful to thieves.

One of the more benign things that could be done with this type of attack is a denial of service. Say an attacker disables all OnStar equipped cars on a major highway at rush hour. That would create quite a mess, even if there are no accidents. If it happened repeatedly, could have quite an impact on the economy.

And since there's been talk recently of Chinese (and other) foreign governments attacking the US infrastructure, here's a new way they could do it - it's probably minimally defended, and the legal and internal relations aspects are a lot less serious than, say, cyberattacking a power plant.

Thanks GM - appreciate your increasing the opportunities for hackers!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home