Oh no! Your car's insurance tracker could kill you! Honest!
In tinfoil hat news, an expert has been shrieking about the devices that are given to drivers by insurance companies which track your driving habits and price your premiums. They could mean you car could get 'hacked', including your brakes and steering, which means bad people will make you drive into the sea or something.
Corey Thuen - a security expert - has investigated the SnapShot device which Progressive Insurance has issued to American drivers, and in the UK, similar devices have been handed out.
Thuen reverse engineered some software and found that he was able to access some functions of the car’s CAN bus (the CAN bus is a thing that allows some components and computers to communicate inside the car) and, when he got in there, he deduced that hackers could do the same and affect steering or braking... theoretically.
"The firmware running on the dongle is minimal and insecure," Thuen said. "It does no validation or signing of firmware updates, no secure boot, no cellular authentication, no secure communications or encryption, no data execution prevention or attack mitigation technologies... basically it uses no security technologies whatsoever."
"I suspected that these dongles were built insecurely, and I was correct. The technology being used in them is outdated and vulnerable to attack which is highly troubling considering it is being used to remotely access insecure by design vehicle computers. A skilled attacker could almost certainly compromise such dongles to gain remote control of a vehicle, or even an entire fleet of vehicles. Once compromised, the consequences range from privacy data loss to life and limb."
Imagine! Hackers taking over an entire fleet of vehicles, making them crash into things like banks and children! Of course, if you were sat in your car, you'd just turn the engine off and whack the handbrake on and you'd be fine... but still... DANGER! DANGER!
The reality of the situation is that hackers could get into the system and inconvenience you by messing around with your self-parking features, or maybe pre-collision systems. We don't have cars that drive themselves yet, so you suspect that, when we do, the security on those will be beefed up to buggery.
Of course, things like Snapshot really only track how fast you're going, how far you drive and what times of day you use your car, so don't worry Bitterwallet motorists, you're safe for now.