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Security Experts Shows Off Hack That Unlocks Vehicles

August 5, 2011

A security consultant said this week that he can unlock thousands of cars simply by sending a text message.

Don Bailey, a senior consultant with iSEC Partners, gave a demonstration of his hacking ability at the Black Hat security and hacking conference in Las Vegas.

He refused to reveal the makes and models of cars that were susceptible to his hack, but warned that the same trick could be used to attack phones, cash machines and even industrial systems like water and power supplies.

“I could care less if I could unlock a car door,” Bailey told CNN during the conference at Caesar’s Palace.

“It’s cool. It’s sexy. But the same system is used to control phone, power, traffic systems. I think that’s the real threat.”

The hack works because some electronic components accept wireless signals that are vulnerable to interference.

He said that companies are able to protect their systems by purchasing more expensive parts, and said that it would push costs up significantly.

Black Hat is an annual gathering of hackers and security professionals in Las Vegas. 

Researchers hope that by showing off how to hack systems, the industry will take steps to make infrastructure and consumers safer.

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