Thursday, March 18, 2010

TX man arrested for tampering with cars from Internet (repo technology only, however)

A man fired from a car dealership near Austin TX used the Internet to disable ignition systems and sound car horns for more than one hundred vehicles. The systems that he hacked are used by “repo men” (as in the upcoming movie from Universal). There is no indication that the automobile diagnostic code systems (the OBD or onboard diagonis codes, as discussed here) were compromised. Nevertheless, that idea would come to mind as a future target of criminal activity, especially in light of recent problems with cars being stuck in acceleration mode, and the possibility that these problems result from faults in wireless electronics. If so, grave public safety issues could ensue.

The man was arrested and apparently is being held for violating Texas computer crimes acts. Texas passed a computer crime law in 1985, when I was working for a credit reporting company (Chilton, now Experian) and mainframe security was just starting to get public attention.

The news story appeared March 18 on AOL here.

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