For the fifth year in a row, Dark Reading has compiled an end-of-the-year list of the coolest hacks executed by those imaginative, inquisitive, and resourceful hackers who dare to go the distance to try some of the most unique--and sometimes bizarre--hacks.
Some of this year's coolest hacks are downright chilling in that they could mean life or death, like the ones that tampered with the dosage dispensed by popular insulin pumps, or that remotely shut down the power on industrial control systems that run power plants. Others were both charming and precocious, like the 10-year-old hacker who found a major flaw in her favorite mobile gaming app after getting bored and looking for a way to progress further with it.
So grab a cup of eggnog, kick back by the fireplace, and time-travel back--to some of the coolest hacks of the year.
1. Remotely starting a car via text message.
There's war driving, and then there's war texting. Security researcher Don Bailey discovered how simple it is to remotely disarm a car alarm system and control other GSM and cell-connected devices: He showed off his find by remotely starting a car outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas during the Black Hat USA and DefCon shows.
It took Bailey, a security consultant with iSec Partners, only two hours to first hack into a popular car-alarm system and then start the car from afar with a text message. He and fellow researcher Mat Solnick later re-enacted the hack via video in Vegas.
Heightened concern that users could inadvertently expose or leak--or purposely steal--an organization's sensitive data has spurred debate over the proper technology and training to protect the crown jewels. An Insider Threat Reality Check, a special retrospective of recent news coverage, takes a look at how organizations are handling the threat--and what users are really up to. (Free registration required.)