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Wifi and cloud based applications bring a new wave of car hacking
Date: 17 June 2016
Security researchers* have exposed security vulnerability in Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid cars that allowed hackers to remotely turn off the car’s alarm system, control the lights and drain the battery. Stolen vehicle recovery expert, TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), which has been a longstanding campaigner against vulnerable vehicle security systems, warns that in-car wifi and cloud based applications present a wide range of opportunities for thieves to attack, making it even more difficult for modern vehicles to be completely secure from determined hackers.
Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER, and a former Chief Superintendent for South Yorkshire Police, Andy Barrs says, “The latest security breach, involving the Mitsubishi Outlander, demonstrates just how advanced thieves are in developing their tactics to tackle new technology. Although manufacturers are constantly developing new immobiliser technology, designed to outpace criminals and make new models significantly more secure, thieves will continue to look for new ways to outwit them, including exploiting telematics and mobile connectivity.
“Of late, standalone key programming theft tools have been making news headlines, but over the next decade, cloud-based theft tools that simply require internet connection are anticipated to dominate. By hacking this type of technology thieves are able to easily target the most desirable models and steal to order, requiring no tools to enter or drive the vehicle away.”
TRACKER’s stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) device is the only solution used by all the UK’s police forces; it works like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle, and there is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there. Uniquely, TRACKER combines GSM, GPS and VHF technology, which means it is able to locate a stolen vehicle anywhere, even when if it is hidden in a garage or shipping container. It’s this matchless combination of technology that makes TRACKER’s SVR solutions resilient to ‘jamming’ – another commonly used tactic by car thieves - creating the most robust stolen car tracking and locating unit available.