An ex-employee has reportedly hacked into a car dealer’s immobilisation service, disabling nearly 100 vehicles.
The dealership, Texas Auto Center, uses a black box system in all the cars it sells to either immobilise cars or set the horn honking if payments are not kept up.
According to Austin KXAN News, Omar Ramos-Lopez, an ex-employee of the firm, accessed the system after being fired and activated the disabling mechanism in more than 80 cars.
The system works by using a box connected to the car’s electronic control system, which is connected to the dealership wirelessly via the pager network.
The dealership was flooded with complaints from legitimate car owners over lost work, missed school or towing expenses and vehicle repairs. The company has now reset all passwords and deactivated the system.
“I don't think I've ever heard of a hacker breaching cars quite like this before. The only consolation for the rest of us is that it’s pretty unlikely that we are likely to face the same risk, unless we purchase a car from a " cheap-and-chips" car dealership that specialises in lots of high-risk purchasers,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.
“Although this attack is definitely out of the ordinary it does underline the importance of proper password security - something that many businesses definitely need to learn a lesson about.”
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