Dear car thieves: if you're looking to steal a car drop your crowbar and pick up an Android. Just a few days ago, a couple of guys at a security research firm discovered a method to remotely unlock and start the engine of a Subaru Outback. Recently, many car manufacturers have been releasing vehicles that can be controlled via an app - directly from your phone. Volkswagen, Ford and others have put a lot of money into ads highlighting the benefits of using your smartphone as a remote control. With new technology, however, come new and often unforeseen dangers. Imagine hackers getting remote access to your car's computer system. Not only could they easily steal your car, but they could potentially disable your brakes while your driving. Now that's a scary thought.
As disturbing as these possibilities may appear, we have to be thankful that security researchers are on top of their game and constantly spilling information about the latest loopholes to the media. Aside from the Subaru Outback, the names of other car manufacturers have not been released to give them time to come up with a solution. The issue does, however, bring up broader questions of about the very real danger of virtual terrorism. With enough knowledge and a simple Android phone, hackers could just as easily break into any remote data transmission system including traffic lights, security cameras and even power plants. The damages from such an attack could be devastating for an entire community. It is very important to remember that as useful and awesome as smartphones are, they are essentially small portable computers which enables hackers to work away from their desktops on the go. I'm sure we'll be hearing more stories like these coming out this year and we can only hope that researchers are way ahead of any malevolent hackers.