Did you applaud the U.S. automotive industry, for its super-quick fix this summer when researchers proved they could remotely hack your car? Well, you may want to take back some of your gratitude.
If you remember, when hackers at a Black Hat conference gave Fiat-Chrysler a heads up that they could hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, Fiat-Chrysler issued a fix before the researchers shared their hack with the rest of the world. Within days, Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles. Quick action.
But that's Chrysler, not General Motors. It turns out that GM, the largest U.S. automaker, was warned of a similar hack five years ago. But it didn't do anything about it, until now.
Fortunately for everyone, the hackers who discovered this major vulnerability were researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington. They warned GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about this potentially deadly hack in 2010.
The vulnerability affected GM's Generation 8 OnStar computer. The hackers said they were able to entirely take over a 2009 Impala, except for its steering. Meaning, if you were speeding along, hackers could have potentially caused you grave harm, by pushing the brakes all the way down, for example.
There's good news. GM says they've been quietly issuing patches since last year to millions of their OnStar computers, using what they call "over-the-air" updates on its Verizon network.