There is a new trend nowadays: turn everything into a smart device. Everyone is doing it from car, planes to home appliance manufactures. The big question is: is it safe? The latest news show not so much. A computer system bug, even a zero day exploit, can be damaging for the end user, but not life threatening. What about a bug in your car or plane, which allows a person to remotely take control of it?
Samy Kamkar has created a box valued at 100$ called Onstar which allows an attacker to locate, unlock and start a general motor's car by intercepting the user's smartphone commands send to the car. More details about this hack can be found here. This problem was reported as being solved by GM.
Another exploit on smart car's was on Jeep and other hundreds of Chrysler vehicles. The hackers were able to take full control of the car, by this I mean drive it. They could steer it, control the transmission and breaks. This problem was solved by the manufacturer, which had to recall over 1 million cars.
Another example of hacking smart devices is hacking the passenger WiFi on planes.
A hacker managed to get access to the plane engines, after he hacked the flight entertainment system. Apparently the US government warned the Boeing and Airbus companies but they did nothing. This problem is still in existence today, you can read more details in many articles like: Techdirt, Theguardian.com etc.
We are not allowed to take more then 100 ml of liquid on board, no sharp objects among many other things, but the plane can be hacked by anyone with a phone. We have to appreciate the irony! Come on! So the real bad guys don't even need to work hard for it. All they have to do is download some hacking tools on their phone/laptop, lean how to use them and buy a plane ticket. When I think at all the spy movies where the villains have these contraptions to cleverly hide explosives, plastic guns, in order to bring them on a plane, it makes me laugh. Real life is much simpler.
It's obvious that we should stop adding that much technology on smart devices until we properly test it for security bugs. Some people even argue that you don't need that much security on everything, usually referring to home appliances. Really? A hacker get's control of a smart TV and uses the camera to spy on the owner. Isn't that a problem? What about the smart fridges which can automatically order food? Let's say someone wants to make a joke and orders tons of food worth 1000 $! Not life threatening, but still not peasant either. The manufactures should stop finding excuses and add proper security on smart devices, especially on those which can potentially kill hundreds.