More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns honking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.
Ramos-Lopez’s account had been closed when he was terminated from Texas Auto Center in a workforce reduction last month, but he allegedly got in through another employee’s account, Garcia says. At first, the intruder targeted vehicles by searching on the names of specific customers. Then he discovered he could pull up a database of all 1,100 Auto Center customers whose cars were equipped with the device. He started going down the list in alphabetical order, vandalizing the records, disabling the cars and setting off the horns.
Reading the linked story, it turns out that this system is installed by the dealer for making reposession easier. It would not disable a moving car but it does allow someone to turn off your ability to start the vehicle and can honk the horn remotely. I wonder how many of the customers were aware this little device was installed?
I for one was never a fan of the OnStar commercials that showed the cops tracking your car and disabling it remotely. Sure, that’s great if your car is stolen, but people are people and by that I mean, people lie, cheat and steal. Some of them even hack into computers they’re not supposed to be in.
I’ll never allow a remote disconnect or control in my car beyond my keyless entry.