IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, there is a dent in my forehead from beating it against Volvo steering wheels. The Swedish car maker’s otherwise excellent products have long been plagued by underbaked firmware and software. The most consumer-facing issue has been the large, portrait-oriented touch screen in the cabin that runs Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system and that is a proper pain in the ass. It takes seemingly forever to boot up after you press the Start button—every time you start—leaving you unable to adjust the radio, temperature, navi…Hellooo? The touch screen is finicky, with tiny icons—runes, I suppose. The navigation...
Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog
A person on a dirt bike came across a damaged vehicle at the bottom of a ravine in Missouri and found a critically injured man inside who had been reported missing six days earlier.
Ryan Linneman, 37, of Lee's Summit, Mo., was reported missing by his wife on Oct. 10.
Linneman was found by the dirt biker Wednesday after apparently running off the road on I-470 in Kansas City and hitting a sign, according to reports.
Initially, the dirt biker thought the car was abandoned and that Linneman was dead, KCPD Sgt. Bill Mahoney said, according to Fox 4 Kansas City
"We think he was injured by the crash, and he couldn't get out of the car, couldn't really help himself," Mahoney said. "Had that dirt biker not come upon him, I don`t see how anyone would have found him."
It's unclear how long Linneman was there.
During the search, police tried pinging his cellphone.
“In this case the cellphone was pinging as off or dead,” Lee’s Summitt Police Sgt. Chris Dupree told the station.
Dupree said police also looked for Linneman through his debit and credit cards but there wasn't any activity.
Linneman remained unconscious Thursday afternoon, the Kansas City Star reported.
A relative asked for continued prayers, saying, “We are blessed to be able to say that he is alive,” according to the paper.
Let’s be honest. When it comes to auto manufacturers that build exciting cars, Volkswagen isn’t at the top of the list. Depending on who you talk to, there’s a good chance it’s not even in the top 10. A new report from Motor Authority suggests that might change in the future.
GTI Is Always The Answer:
It’s not as if the automaker doesn’t have access to some serious fizz-inducing technology. Audi and Porsche are bundled under the VW umbrella, not to mention Lamborghini. And yes, the GTI pretty much established the hot hatchback segment and has ruled it for decades, but aside from occasional GTI-based variants over the years, it’s been VW’s one-trick pony. Speaking to Motor Authority, Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh reportedly said the company was an enthusiast brand and that it should be making more enthusiast cars.
The New Golf Is Coming:
That sounds well and good but talk is a far cry from action, and the report offers nothing further from Keogh on exactly what this statement means for the future. We’re just a week away from seeing the next-generation Golf, and we already know a new GTI and Golf R will follow. That’s just a continuation of the one-trick pony, but Keogh’s words point to something beyond that. With buyers abandoning sedans like radioactive feces, a trick SUV with some power and on-road poise could be interesting. The switch to electric power also holds an opportunity for something quick and exciting, though such an offering is likely to be quite expensive and as history shows, VW has trouble selling vehicles with higher price tags.
At least VW’s one-trick pony is a really good pony. There’s a reason the GTI is “always the answer” when it comes to something that’s both practical and fun-to-drive, and that formula is also present in the Jetta GLI. Still, it’s a narrow window and we’d be thrilled to see VW expand its enthusiast cred beyond small runabouts.
Connected cars should come with a kill switch. That's the take-home message—and the title—of a report by the group Consumer Watchdog. Software increasingly defines the vehicles we drive, and software can be exploited by nefarious people for nefarious means. The problem is compounded by the fact that automakers rely on software written by third parties, including open source software that is riddled with security holes, it says.
Therefore, to prevent "a 9/11-like cyber-attack on our cars," the report calls for physical "kill switches" to be built into new cars to allow them to be completely disconnected from the Internet. If carmakers don't agree to the report's recommendations by year's end, then "legislators and regulators should mandate these protections," it says.
Yes, there’s a modem in your new car
You may have noticed that it's becoming increasingly difficult to buy a new vehicle that doesn't feature an embedded modem in it. The benefits of a connected car are various, we're told. It enables onboard telematics that the car maker can use both to improve future products and to allow features like predictive maintenance alerts. And an Internet connection to the infotainment system opens up streaming media services alongside more traditional platforms like FM or satellite radio. In Europe, an onboard modem that can call emergency services in the event of a serious crash has been mandatory since last year.
Depending on the car, you can do a lot more. I'm pretty sure every battery-electric vehicle has a smartphone app that lets you control charging and climate settings. And many more cars (with all kinds of powertrains) have apps that let you monitor and even geofence a car. Some new cars have APIs that are accessible to services like Alexa, and an industry-wide fascination with AI is driving digital assistants and of course autonomy itself. All of this is enabled by wireless connection to the outside world, and it involves some pretty deep hooks into the innards of a car—stuff like the brakes, for instance.Unfortunately, much of the basic internal network that connects the different bits of a car—called a CANbus—was set in stone in the mid-1990s. And much like the cyberpunk fiction of the period, no one really grasped that everything was about to go wireless. As we've learned ever since, if you connect a system to the Internet andyou don't make it secure, someone cancome along and hack it.
Consumer Watchdog's report explains this in great depth. It quotes Linus Torvalds on why Linux should never be trusted with a nuclear power station and explains some potential methods of attacking a connected car. It details car hacks of the past such as the infamous Miller and Valasek Jeep hack, and it reprints excerpts from investor communications from companies like Tesla and GM that acknowledge the risks a hacking incident could cause to the company share price.
But the report is curiously ill-informed on some matters and positively misguided in others. And the picture it paints of the industry—as secretive and sleepwalking into danger—doesn't really reflect the state of the industry as it is today.
"When we talk about the car, I think what's interesting is that the OEMs and tier one suppliers have taken security very seriously," said John Wall, SVP at Blackberry and head of its QNX activities. "If I look back three or four CESes past, there was a lot of emphasis on autonomous drive. Then the Jeep hack happened. It changed the industry overnight. The next year at CES, everybody was coming to us and asking us, "OK, we know you have an ASIL-D certified product. We know you know how to do Functional Safety. What's your security story?" Companies went out and bought security companies. I mean, some of the reaction was knee-jerk," he told Ars. "But the point was, people were taking it seriously. I don't know that they exactly knew. I mean, the reality is, if you look at the Jeep hack, this wasn't a sophisticated hack. This was 'the doors were left wide open,'" Wall said.
Modern cars have modern security on them
As Wall noted, the Jeep hack was possible because the point of entry—its infotainment system—was developed before anyone thought it would one day be connected to the Internet. "The only way you could break into that head unit was physically. At that point, who cares? I mean, if you're inside the vehicle, you can do whatever you want, but then they added a module to it. And suddenly, you had a connected unsecured device. So the first step was for a lot of the OEMs to look at their current crop of devices and say, 'OK, what are the steps we need to take to at least close the open doors?'""Putting in passwords, encryption, Secure Boot—all these different things have followed. But now what we're actually seeing in the industry isthe architecture of the vehicle itself is changing. And we're seeing things like gateways get put into place, separating non-safety buses from safety buses. So there's a lot of effort going into re-architecting the vehicle from how the buses are actually connected through to issuing certificates for modules that need to authenticate; the level of sophistication is getting much higher," Wall told Ars.
All of that sounds sensible, but not to Consumer Watchdog. The report gives modern connected device security scant mention beyond a throwaway paragraph on gateways, which it says are "responsible for ensuring only authorized communication can reach the safety-critical systems. While this would seem to solve the problem, it really only adds more complexity. A successful attack must pass through the gateway unit, requiring a more sophisticated attack. However, the additional hardware and software in the gateway unit also create more opportunities for hackers to find vulnerabilities."
If you have to flip a kill switch in your own car, it’s too late
As an observer of the industry over the past few years, I have to agree with Wall's assessment—the Jeep hack certainly woke everyone up. When we launched our car section in 2014, it was extremely difficult to get any OEM to talk about the topic of cybersecurity. These days, car companies like GM will even let journalists like me meet their Red Teams, who spend their days finding creative ways to compromise new systems before the cars are unleashed on the public. There's an Auto-ISAC, where the industry meets to share threat intelligence. And there has been a proliferation of cybersecurity companies pitching their services to the auto industry, with more than a few acqui-hires.
And even as the automotive threat surface expands, we've yet to see much evidence of malicious actors targeting cars. Why bother going after a car for a bitcoin or two when you could ransomware some hospitals, 23 Texas local agencies, Georgia's court system, Baltimore City government, or a Chinese shipping company? In fact, the only automotive ransomware event we've covered in the past few years was a WCry infection at one of Honda's Japanese factories.
If criminals want to ransom cars, they'll do it by going after someone who can afford to pay them, and that means the OEMs, not end users. And in turn, any kill switches need to be (and indeed are) at that level. Because by the time a driver realizes she needs to turn off the Internet connection to her compromised car, it's already too late. Sadly, most of the recommendations in the Consumer Watchdog report are similarly well-meaning but misguided; I'm not sure the authors would get any industry to agree that "CEOs... should sign personal statements and accept personal legal liability for the cybersecurity status" of whichever company they asked, other than perhaps an actual cybersecurity company. But if the aim was to get people talking about a topic that has very low public consciousness, it might have worked.
Hayes Hickman, Knoxville News Sentinel Published 10:05 a.m. ET Oct. 18, 2019 | Updated 12:58 p.m. ET Oct. 18, 2019
A young child was found dead in a car outside a northside Knoxville Food City on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Tyler Whetstone, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
An East Tennessee mother has been indicted by a Knox County grand jury on charges including first-degree murder in the death of her 6-month-old son, who was found dead in a parked car outside a Knoxville shopping center amid sweltering August temperatures.
The grand jury returned a five-count presentment Wednesday against 30-year-old Chantae Cabrera, of Clinton, on charges that also include felony murder and aggravated child neglect.
Chantae Monique Cabrera(Photo: Knox County Detention Facility)
Cabrera, who also is identified in court documents as Chantae Monique Armstrong, was taken into custody shortly after midnight Friday. She was released Friday morning after posting a $250,000 bond.
Cabrera told Knox News on Friday that the reports about her are "not true," but otherwise declined comment.
Cabrera's infant son was found unresponsive inside a Nissan sedan in the parking lot of Food City, 5078 Clinton Highway, on Aug. 9.
Temperatures that day reached 90 degrees, with a heat index of 96.
When the outside temperature is 93, temps inside a vehicle can reach 125 in just 20 minutes, and quickly raise body temperatures to dangerous levels, according to East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
Emergency responders attempted to revive the child, but were unsuccessful. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
The child is identified only by the initials J.M. in the presentment.
Authorities have released very few details about the case, including how long the child may have been left in the car.
The child's autopsy was performed at the Knox County Regional Forensic Center. His cause of death, however, has not been specified and the autopsy report was not immediately available Friday.
A court date for Cabrera has not been set.
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