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Attacks/Breaches

4/28/2016
12:00 PM
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10 Newsmakers Who Shaped Security In the Past Decade

In celebration of Dark Reading's 10th anniversary, we profile ten people whose actions influenced and shaped the trajectory of the industry - for better or for worse -- in the past ten years.
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Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek

Hack My Ride

When security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek showed off their first car hacks in 2012, they landed a segment on the Today show, but got little if any attention from the carmakers themselves. They were able to wrest control of automated features in a 2010 Toyota Prius and the 2010 Ford Escape to force the vehicles to steer wildly, brake, and accelerate. Ford, for example, dismissed the hacks as low-risk physical manipulations of the vehicle, because the hackers had to physically get inside the vehicle to hack it. Even so, they got some nervous laughter from their audiences at DEF CON and on TV.

Their next step was studying the networked automation features in late-model vehicles, and they wrote a report in 2013 on the most (remotely) hackable cars. At the top of that list was the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. They then used that vehicle as the lab rat for their ultimate goal of hacking a moving vehicle from afar. The research culminated in a video demonstration of their taking control over a Jeep from their laptops from Millers couch 10 miles away while the driver was traveling at 70Mph on the highway.

The in-your-face hack not only got the attention of most major cable television outlets, but it also finally moved the cybersecurity needle in the auto industry: Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles that contained the painfully simple zero-day flaw the researchers used to hack it, an unnecessarily open communications port in the cars infotainment system.

The auto industry has made some significant moves to address security of their networked vehicles: in July, it launched its own Intelligence Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) for disseminating and exchanging cyber threat information.Famed car hackers Miller and Valasek now work for Ubers research arm, helping makes its upcoming fleet of self-driving cars secure from hacking.

Image Source: Black Hat Events (Pictured above: Valasek on the left, Miller on the right

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