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The Coolest Hacks Of 2013

Take a look back at security researchers' most extreme, creative, and just plain bizarre hacks this year.

Source: Miller and Valasek whitepaper.
Source: Miller and Valasek whitepaper.

Highway To Hell: Cars Get 0wned

There was plenty of nervous laughter at DEF CON this summer when renowned researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek showed how they were able to hack the electronics of the 2010 Toyota Prius and Ford Escape to override the cars' smart steering, braking, acceleration, engine, and other features. The researchers, who had no experience with car electronics prior to their dismantling the dashboards and figuring out the cars' networks, released the tools they built that allowed them to jerk the steering wheel out of the driver's control and to disable the brakes.

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/27/2013 | 11:04:03 AM
Scary not Cool
I'm not sure I'd say they are "cool."  They are scary in that as we computerize and make everything wireless, we are not paying enough attention to security.  It was bad enough to have my computer hacked.  Now it just gets worse.  Getting killed as youe car gets hacked, environmental disasters causes by hacking, ships running aground caused by hacking – sounds like a disaster movie on the SyFy channel.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/30/2013 | 8:39:23 AM
Re: Scary not Cool
I had a conversation with some folks a few years ago about how easy it is to control the computer systems of modern vehicles.  It took a funny turn because they jokingly called me a conspiracy theorist.   Now that we're seeing more proof of concept attacks against vehicles it really is a bit frightening.  My biggest concern at the time when we were talking about it was a local garage doing things like sitting at a street corner and turning on check engine lights hoping to increase business but now I wonder about things like insurance scams and personal injury lawsuits.
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/2/2014 | 4:12:50 PM
Re: Scary not Cool
Agreed -- those hacks highlight the potential for harm in some otherwise cool ideas. Security needs to be more of a priority.
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