Grand Theft Auto Cyber-style

COMMENTARY Transportation

Grand Theft Auto Cyber-style

Aug 10th, 2015 1 min read
James Jay Carafano

Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges.
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 its 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 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…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.

 - James Jay Carafano is vice president of defense and foreign policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. He is the author of
Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World.

Originally appeared in PJ Media