Autonomous Vehicles and Hacking

Carl Weinschenk

Cameron Camp, a researcher for global security provider ESET, suggests that autonomous vehicles are very vulnerable to hacking. These vehicles typically use a Controller Area Network (CAN), a simple and reliable way to link all the elements necessary in a connected car.

The problem is that it’s vulnerable, Camp says at Dark Reading:

The basic flaw in autonomous vehicles is the vulnerability that results from all systems being interconnected. The Controller Area Network, or CAN bus, runs the important things in a car like engine and transmission controls, as well as the system you’ll interact most with: the infotainment computer on your dashboard. The infotainment system is often tied to the internet to enable you to get directions. If the infotainment system intersects both the CAN bus and the internet, suddenly over-the-air hacks become more of a reality if the bus is left unsecured. This is the most worrisome repercussion of connected car hacking -- possibly affecting your vehicle unbeknownst to you while you drive down the road.

Camp suggests that CANs need a deep security overhaul “using the lessons learned from every other commercial network in the world over the past five years.”


Google Fiber Halts in Portland

Google Fiber is delaying the buildout of its service in Portland by at least several months, according to Oregon Live.

Google Fiber has been considering Portland since 2014. It released a statement that included no firm date to start the project. Commentary suggests that the company may be trying to find a way to cut the cost of the project. The city estimates the price tag will be $300 million.

The good (if not surprising) news for residents is that broadband speeds have gone up in the two-and-a-half years since Google Fiber first expressed interest.

Tennesseans Skipping Fastest Broadband

It almost goes without saying that people want the fastest broadband that they can get their hands on. Well, that may not always be the case. The Times Free Press looks at a study sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, in which researchers found that fewer than 25 percent of Tennessee residents subscribe to high-speed broadband, though it is available to 87 percent of residents.

Thirteen percent of residents don’t have broadband access, which equates to 834,545 people. A majority of the others, those that have access, prefer digital subscriber line (DSL), wireless or dial-up.

The study, which was conducted by the Strategic Networks Group, revealed a significant digital divide. One in six people in the state can access 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) service – if they choose to pay for it.

Updating Pen Testing

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is the strategy of increasing security by attacking the organization in the same way that a malicious hacker would. The goal is to identify and fix vulnerabilities before they are found and exploited by the bad guy.

At Continuity Central, SureCloud’s Toby Scott-Jackson takes a look at how the penetration testing strategy must change, especially in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). Two of his points: Technology is changing quickly, and threats and adversaries are growing more sophisticated. Those planning pen testing should emphasize flexibility and adopt a “pen test-as-a-service” approach that makes it possible to run the tests more frequently:

Technology, security and cybercriminals are all continually evolving – which means that the traditional, annual or biannual penetration test is no longer an option. With more regular check-ups on the security of their networks and applications via a platform-based approach, organizations will gain a better understanding of their business risk, and move to the next stage in the evolution of their organizations’ security.

Combining Augmented and Virtual Realities

Augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) have significant similarities and differences. While the two are often lumped together, they have been on discreet tracks during their evolutionary paths.

That may be changing. Digital Trends reports on rumors, which started with information provided to Engadget, that Google is working on a device that “blurs the line” between AR and VR. The headset would be viable for both real-world and virtual experience; it won’t need a computer or phone, but will have a screen and “offer more augmented reality features than current VR headsets can provide,” according to Digital Trends.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

 



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