Feeds

'War texting' hacks car systems and possibly much more

Remotely start cars, attack SCADA, through GSM

The essential guide to IT transformation

Software that allows drivers to remotely unlock and start automobiles using cell phones is vulnerable to hacks that allow attackers to do the same thing, sometimes from thousands of miles away, it was widely reported Wednesday.

The exploit affecting an undisclosed product used to remotely control cars was developed by iSec researchers Don Bailey and Matthew Solnik by reverse engineering the GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications, technology it relies on.

By setting up their own, private GSM network and then closely monitoring it, they were able to figure out the codes needed to send rogue commands to cars that relied on the system. They used a laptop to recreate the messages, a technique they dubbed "war texting."

While the hack raises obvious concerns for users of OnStar RemoteLink and other systems for remotely controlling automobiles, it could pose even more of a threat to operators of SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, systems used to control valves, gears, and other physical processes in industrial plants and factories, Bailey said.

Many industrial control systems also rely on GSM networks to send and receive commands. With the declining cost of operating ad-hoc GSM networks, it could become increasingly easy to penetrate these systems and defeat the security-through-obscurity protections they rely on.

The researchers are scheduled to present their findings during a talk titled War Texting: Identifying and Interacting with Devices on the Telephone Network at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

Original reporting from CNET, IDG News, and Dark Reading is here, here, and here. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?