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Hackers Use Smartphone to Steal Subaru Outback

With more tech onboard are cars becoming easy prey?

by on Aug.09, 2011

Hackers break into a Subaru Outback using nothing but a smartphone.

Today’s cars are loaded with digital technology, from the engine controllers that maximize mileage while reducing emissions, to their increasingly popular multi-function infotainment systems.  But have these silicon-based devices also made our cars increasingly vulnerable to high-tech thieves?

That’s the chilling message delivered by two researchers who appeared at the Black Hat Conference, an annual gathering of hackers and security pros in Las Vegas, this last week.  Using nothing but an Android smartphone and some creative programming, they were able to not only unlock a Subaru Outback but start up its engine.

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“I could care less if I could unlock a car door. It’s cool. It’s sexy,” Don Bailey, a senior security consultant with iSEC Partners and one of the pros who hacked the car, told CNN. “But the same system is used to control phone, power, traffic systems. I think that’s the real threat.”