60 Minutes, cars, CBS, computers, DARPA, Drivin' N' Cryin', Ed Markey, hacking, Ray Bradbury, spying, technology
By this title I mean no disrespect to that most excellent Southern rock band, Drivin’ N Cryin’. I also did not mean to watch 60 Minutes tonight but I did – at least one segment.
Drivin’ had a great song, Lost in the Shuffle, which, among other things, recounted the theft of a Mercedes. (Perrin is going somewhere with this …. hang on.)
The segment I watched on 60 Minutes was about DARPA Dan, the man with the plan to protect the cyber land… Here’s the CBS link. Among many other interesting topics reporter Lesley Stahl covered the increasing risk that a new car (any new car) can be easily and remotely hacked by way of its on-board computers. Once a hacker gains control he can do ANYTHING with the car, including crash it. And, they didn’t just talk about it – they did it on camera.
“Kathleen Fisher, a DARPA veteran, says a modern car is really a computer on wheels. You’ve seen the ads of your GPS or smartphone linked to the dashboard. But this way your car could be hacked and taken over remotely.”
“Using a laptop, the hacker dialed the car’s emergency communication system and transmitted a series of tones that flooded it with data. As the car’s computer tried sorting it out, the hacker inserted an attack that reprogrammed the software, gaining total remote control.”
Scary stuff. Tomorrow Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts (D, naturally) will release a report (CBS calls it scathing) about the dangers inside your dashboard. I’m not one to cheer anything the government does but Ed may be on to something.
The new “infotainment” technology modern cars are equipped with has troubled me for a while. I’ve heard rumors that several universities, the Pentagon and the European Auto Agency have come to similar conclusions.
I will dissect the Markey Report and add my thoughts here.
Two more things:
First, the whole CBS segment was permeated with the aura (and smell) of big, technocratic government. You know. Something alarms them so they come up with a solution. The solution is worse than the problem. They want you to praise them for the new problem/solution. Same old song.
Second, DARPA! Gregg and Darpa? No. DARPA means Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. They do some cool stuff. And, some scary stuff. They have literally brought Ray Bradbury’s Mechanical Hound to life – Google or Youtube “DARPA Big Dog.” Watch a few of the videos. NOT TONIGHT! You might not be able to sleep. Oh, and until I have gone over the Markey Report, keep an eye on your car…
(Not your Grandpa’s Fido. Google.)
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