Are you afraid of car hacking yet? If not, you should be! Don't you know that freedom-hating terrorists are firing up their laptops as we speak, waiting for the chance to flick a switch and turn your hapless Nissan Cube into a bloodthirsty, pedestrian-slaying Cube of Mass Destruction?
Just ask Fox News. In the rational, even-handed, logical tone they are famous for (that was sarcasm in case you need these things spelled out for you) they outline "the growing concern" about the potential threat of an outside person seizing control of your vehicle as you're driving along. And by person, they mean hackers... and even terrorists. Gulp!
In this slightly ridiculous segment, host Jenna Lee warns that as cars become more "sophisticated" (which she said with air quotes and a horrified face) car hacking should be added to the list of things Fox News tells us to be afraid of.
Counterterrorism analyst Morgan Wright backs this up by citing OnStar as an example — they can pull your car over for you in the event of an emergency. That is true. Then it goes off the rails a bit. He says he fears an unauthorized party being able to do the same thing.
"A lot of people say that's far-fetched," he says. "But on Sept. 10, 2001, we thought it was far-fetched to fly four airplanes into a building."
Man. That is some pure, Grade A, unadulterated fear mongering right there. If fear mongering were an art form, that would be a goddamn Rembrandt painting.
There's more too, like the graphic next to Wright that says "There are 240 million registered cars and trucks in the United States," not-so-subtly implying that all of them could become potential weapons at the whim of Al Qaeda.
Wright is correct in saying there is a potential for this to happen. He is also right that it is brand new territory, and it's good that researchers are examining this to find ways to hopefully prevent it from happening.
But he fails to note that while car hacking is possible, it almost certainly requires physical access to the vehicle, like the two DARPA researchers did to the Prius recently. Wireless remote car hacking, especially of multiple vehicles at once, is a lot harder to swallow. It's just not something you need to be afraid of — heck, Wright even says it's a "1-and-half" on the 1 to 10 Fox News Fear Scale.
Unless you have the new Infiniti Q50, which is the only new car out that has a true drive-by-wire steering system. Displaying it onscreen, he says that if someone hacks into it, they could control the vehicle. I'm sure Infiniti is really happy about that graphic.
Well, I'm driving the Q50 this week. If the car strangles me to death with a seatbelt and then wipes out a major American city while my corpse sits inside it, it's been an honor serving all of you.
At the end, Lee and Wright make a good point that we Jalops can surely agree with — you can get around this by just driving a cool old car, like a 1965 Mustang. No fear of car hacking there!
Except that Wright, the so-called "expert," chimes in to say he has a 2000 Camaro Super Sport, and "the only thing electronic about that is the stereo system!"
Hahaha WRONG. If you have a 2000 Camaro it has OBD-II and a whole assortment of electronic equipment. It may even have... oh, Sweet Jesus, no... OnStar.
Everyone, if you see Morgan Wright's 2000 Camaro on the streets, drive the other way as fast as you can. It may have been compromised by terrorists. And it may be coming for your children.
Hat tip to Carscoops!