Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Connected Cars" - buyer beware

I'm skeptical about so-called "connected cars" (cars with built-in Internet access and apps that let their owners do things like unlock doors and the like).  I don't think that much thought has gone into the security design of these systems.  Here's just the latest example:

Why Buying Used Cars Could Put You At Safety Risk:
Charles Henderson sold his car several years ago, but he still knows exactly where it is, and can control it from his phone.

The IBM researcher leading X-Force Red, the firm’s security testing group, wasn’t researching car security when he discovered a major privacy issue. He simply sold his car.

“The car is really smart, but it’s not smart enough to know who its owner is, so it’s not smart enough to know it’s been resold,” Henderson told CNNTech. “There’s nothing on the dashboard that tells you ‘the following people have access to the car.'”

This isn’t an isolated problem. Henderson tested four major auto manufacturers, and found they all have apps that allow previous owners to access them from a mobile device.
You know how you can change your password just about anywhere?  Not on that car you just bought.  Caveat Emptor.

Me?  I think that this is just another reason to buy a Goat ...

Image via InfoGalactic


Bob Tamewitz said...

I prefer a '65 Stang, but that's just me...........

Ken said...

'64 Impala SS, 409 4-speed.

Tim Covington said...

I want a '72 Bronco.

SiGraybeard said...

I bought a used '09 Ford Explorer five years ago. This was the first year they released the Microsoft Sync system and it's fairly primitive compared to the more modern versions. One of the features it has is it links to your phone, allows hands off dialing and such.

The owner didn't think to wipe the memory of all his contacts and calls. Of course, doing it for him was the polite thing to do.

Something to remember when you sell your car.

Steve said...

1969 Dodge Charger, but they are so damned expensive now-a-days it is my lottery car.

libertyman said...

Here come the Judge!

Anonymous said...

"I think that this is just another reason to buy a Goat ..."

How about a Gama Goat?


Anonymous said...

Every time I start thinking about replacing my 21-year-old wheels, I realize how far back in model years I need to go to avoid software hassles and security threats and realize I've already done that.

It's not quite battery/coil, but there's only one on board computer and it can be accessed only by removing screws and a cover plate (and I do have a spare in a Faraday cage).

I've wondered if the Auto Wizards realize what they've done with their incessant crusade for bits and byte magic, and are smart enough to build something low tech (actually, put the big, fancy wiring harness in, drill the mounting holes and plug them, and leave the sooper slick gizmos in the catalog so whomever desires them can buy them and have them easily installed, but leave them out at the factory), but with each new model it's apparent the thought has never penetrated their bubble.

ASM826 said...

1969 GTO

Yours for a phone call and a wire transfer.

bruce said...

The oldies are nice, don't carry anything other than nostalgia in their favor, slower, less maneuverable, pollute like nobodies business.
New cars are pretty mundane in looks until you can purchase a super car. But sip gas, last longer, don't have manufacturing flaws as wide as a silver dollar.
I immediately know when I'm driving behind a pre modern ecu car. Or one that has been performanced hacked/chipped. And the new formulations of "gas" don't smell any better than the good stuff. Burning oil and dripping oil pans don't do anything for me. Noticed the center of the road isn't a black reservoir of oil?
It should be easy to cheat the communicative features of new cars.

Comrade Misfit said...

I'll keep my non-networked `05 running for awhile, yet.

One fun thing about occasionally renting a car is seeing the list of contacts in the installed Bluetoothed hands-free gizmo that are still there from previous renters.

Joseph Bridges said...

"It should be easy to cheat the communicative features of new cars."

Well - maybe it should be -'s not.

I've done the majority of my own car-work myself since pretty-much forever - but I can't even figure out where to start on anything much electrical or electronic or even electro-mechanical on anything built in the last...say...9 or 10 years. Do the wrong move of some kind, and it'll cost you a day or two, plus a towing fee, plus whatever the shop charges you to get back on the road.

My son's a professional mechanic, certified for a bunch of stuff and works full-time for a major-brand dealership, largely on warranty-covered work, has been doing that work for over 8 - 10 years now - and there's a lot of stuff HE can't work on, not without additional training of fairly-specialized nature; it's all "integrated" and mostly-interrelated - the wrong "fix", and the thing won't even start, much less operate correctly.

That's just the way it is.

It's also why my vehicles are a 12-year-old, well-cared-for low-mileage pickup and an 18-year-old "orphan" car, a Pontiac (remember those?) Firebird, also pampered...I can still work on them - even though I do have to have my son's help with some stuff on the pickup.

Unless you're a pro-grade software/computer hacker, don't even bother trying to "bypass" modern-vehicle communicative capabilities - all you'll do is disable some part of the vehicle - expensively - and frustrate yourself AND the guy who has to get it working right again.