The young men and a lone woman arrive in dark T-shirts with logos for "Digital Forensics" and "Major League Hacking." They unzip sleeves to razor-thin laptops, plug into the lab monitors, and commence an assault that in another place and time could send them to jail.Their assignment: hack their college.They are a class of honors students at the University of Maryland, College Park who can read in C-code, compute in binary, and whose studies have brought them to this new frontier in cybersecurity education."We turn them loose on the larger campus network," said their instructor, Rob Maxwell, who has presented his teaching method at security conferences. "I've gotten some interest and a few people alarmed at the notion."Maryland has emerged as a leader in cybersecurity education as its schools moved to meet a growing demand for workers qualified for jobs in the state's burgeoning cybersecurity industry.As the internet exploded in use over the past 25 years, an entire industry sprang up … [Read more...] about Amid groundswell in cybersecurity courses, novel UMD seminar permits students to hack campus network
Cybersecurity big data
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich declared that “data is literally the new oil” during an address at last year’s L.A. auto show. The idea that bits and bytes will replace petroleum as the primary fuel for the world’s economy—and the auto industry in particular—isn’t an original one. But it summarizes what many insiders believe: As data analytics engines become more valuable than vehicle engines in the coming years, the flood of information gleaned from them will serve as a primary driver of automotive innovation with potentially billions in profits at stake as a result.Cars are just now becoming connected, and as autonomous technology moves into the mainstream the flow of data will turn from a trickle into a full-blown gusher. Automakers, their major suppliers, and large tech companies are already jockeying to take advantage of what Intel calls the coming “Passenger Economy … when today’s drivers become idle passengers.” But … [Read more...] about The Big Data Boom
Dozens of researchers have now shown that it’s possible to hack in to a car and commandeer its controls. But in the real world, such dire automotive cyberattacks have yet to materialize.That shouldn’t lull anyone into a false sense of security. Both terrorists and hackers pose a serious threat to connected automobiles—and as many as three-quarters of new cars are expected to have internet connectivity on board by 2020, according to John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security at the U.S. Department of Justice. Carlin said many vehicles, including self-driving cars, may soon be in danger of having their systems compromised. Also recognizing the problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just issued Cybersecurity Best Practices for Modern Vehicles, a guide for the auto industry.“We’re on the cusp of a transformation, and the auto industry is at the front of that transformation,” Carlin said. … [Read more...] about Ransomware: The Next Big Automotive Cybersecurity Threat?
As cars increasingly become enmeshed in the Internet of Things, automakers for the past few years have offered drivers the ability to locate, unlock, and start their car with a smartphone or tablet. From the comfort of your couch, you can crank up the heat in your car or honk its horn with a tap on a touchscreen. But if it’s easy for you to control your vehicle using a mobile app, that also means if you bought it used, whoever owned it before you could still have some kind of access to it. In other words, someone else could still have the ability to locate, unlock, and start your car.Such was the case with Charles Henderson, a cybersecurity researcher at IBM, who happened to notice a major vulnerability in one automaker’s vehicle connectivity. A few years back, Henderson bought a convertible (the make and model of which he declined to name) and, as an early adopter to technology, was all too happy to connect his smartphone to the vehicle via the automaker’s mobile … [Read more...] about Is Your Connected Car at Risk? Previous Owners May Still Have Access
Following his remarks on the future of transportation during the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh last week, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx sat in a conference room on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. Around the corner from his location, ride-hailing company Uber picked up passengers in an autonomous vehicle. Down the road, dozens of traffic lights that incorporate artificial intelligence and real-time sensor data provided smoother traffic flow for motorists and trimmed their travel times by nearly a third.In Pittsburgh and elsewhere, the transportation future that Foxx had just finished describing is playing out very much in real time. Technology advances, in some cases, have made developments including autonomous driving possible. But in other areas, that transportation future is occurring now because of unconventional policies promoted by Foxx and the U.S. Department of Transportation.Car and Driver caught up with Foxx in Pittsburgh. … [Read more...] about The Future of Transportation: Q&A with DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx
Brake lights flashed. Cars inched forward, sped up, and slowed down. Drivers swooped from lane to lane, searching for the slightest of advantages in the late-afternoon rush. It was all part of a routine commute along Interstate 15—for every car except one. Operating amid the traffic fray was an Audi SQ5 equipped with an automated driving system jointly developed by automotive suppliers Delphi and Mobileye.During an autonomous journey that covered a little more than six miles, the car negotiated a highway merge from the on-ramp and later made a graceful exit, two challenges that many engineers consider some of the most complex in self-driving operations. Accomplishing the maneuvers at the peak of rush hour only enhanced the feat.Among the dozen or so self-driving demonstrations taking place in Las Vegas during autonomous-addled CES, the Delphi-Mobileye vehicle was the only one to venture into the realm of highway merges and exits. Those were signature moments in a drive in which … [Read more...] about These Two Companies Think They’ve Cracked the Code to Fully Autonomous Cars—And We Rode in the Prototype
For the futurists paid to warn humanity about the next doomsday, car hacking is a delightful topic. It’s a real thing, too, about which automakers have demonstrated practically zero authority or leadership. But since the last time we visited this subject, car hacking still hasn’t reached piss-your-pants paranoia, and won’t send your loved ones zooming into a brick wall. At least not yet. Here’s what we know and need to learn about this tricky subject. 1. Automobile CAN networks were never set up for data security, and still aren’t.Back in the days of the floppy-disk personal computer, Bosch developed the CAN bus (Controller Area Network) system to digitize the modern car while cutting the complexity of contemporary wiring harnesses. That was 1986, a full decade before the OBD-II protocol surfaced on production cars and “hacking” meant your dad was out in the backyard chopping a tree. Without speaking like semiconductor engineers, CAN is a … [Read more...] about Can Your Car Really Be Hacked? Six Points to Know
One year after researchers demonstrated they could remotely commandeer control of a Jeep Cherokee by exploiting a cybersecurity weakness, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is ramping up its efforts to thwart car-hacking threats.The automaker said this week it has established a bug-bounty program, through which independent researchers can report security flaws and receive payments ranging from $150 to $1500, depending on the severity of the problem discovered.“We want to encourage independent security researchers to reach out to us and share what they’ve found so that we can fix potential vulnerabilities before they’re an issue for our consumers,” said Titus Melnyk, senior manager of security architecture for FCA.But the payments come with a big catch. Researchers who accept the compensation must sign nondisclosure agreements that prohibit them from disclosing findings to anyone outside the company. Retaining the right to disclose vulnerabilities has been a … [Read more...] about Fiat Chrysler Starts “Bug Bounty” Program to Thwart Hackers, But There’s a Big Catch
From the vantage point of a visitor, there’s not much to see on the barren grounds that once held one of America’s most vaunted manufacturing facilities. Weeds have infiltrated what remains of the factory floor. Traffic lights sway in the breeze in an empty lot where thousands of workers once parked their cars. A rail spur leads nowhere.But standing on this dilapidated property similar to so many that have come to symbolize industrial collapse throughout the Midwest, John Maddox doesn’t see the remnants of a bygone era. He sees the future. Such vision requires creativity. One of the two remaining water towers on the west side of this sprawling complex? It could provide water that engineers use to re-create icy and rain-slick road conditions. The rail spur could be outfitted with gates and signals to replicate an actual crossing. Those traffic lights—they can be repurposed for use at custom-built intersections.Maddox leads a nonprofit that intends, soon, to … [Read more...] about Michigan Broadens Its Ambitions for Autonomous-Vehicle Proving Grounds
It’s an issue that the computer and Internet technology industry has been fighting for years: Hackers trying to gain access to your PC or the network of a major corporation with nefarious intentions such as extracting ransom from users after seizing data.However, as vehicles become more laden with technology and increasingly connected to the Internet, could they also become targets?Two leading security experts believe that your car, which is for the most part unsecured against hacking, will attract the attention of criminals in the not too distant future.In the Internet technology world, this type of scenario is called ramsonware (Locky, CryptoLocker), but when it comes to an automobile, Stephen Cobb refers to it as jackware. Cobb and colleague Cameron Camp are IT security experts with a firm called ESET and they believe the possibility of jackware being used on vehicles is real.“Right now, if you have physical access, getting your car to do strange things is not … [Read more...] about How Safe Are Cars from Hackers?