Security is Freedom

Richard Clarke Thinks Car Hack Possible In Journalist's Death

Posted by Robert Vamosi on 7/1/13 7:19 AM | Estimated Reading Time:

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Updated Huffington Post link corrected.

Perhaps it was an off-the-cuff remark, but the Huffington Post reports that former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke thinks that the recent car accident that claimed the life of an award winning journalist might have been the result of a car hack.

Last week, Michael Hastings, the journalist who famously wrote an unflattering interview with Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone, died after his 2013 Mercedes C250 coupe slammed into a tree in Los Angeles at 4:30 in the morning. The resulting fire was so intense it took law enforcement two days to identify Hastings' body.

"What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it's relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn't want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn't want the brakes on, to launch an air bag," Clarke told The Huffington Post. "You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it's not that hard."

"So if there were a cyber attack on the car -- and I'm not saying there was," Clarke added, "I think whoever did it would probably get away with it."

"I'm not a conspiracy guy. In fact, I've spent most of my life knocking down conspiracy theories," said Clarke, who ran afoul of the second Bush administration when he criticized the decision to invade Iraq after 9/11. "But my rule has always been you don't knock down a conspiracy theory until you can prove it [wrong]. And in the case of Michael Hastings, what evidence is available publicly is consistent with a car cyber attack. And the problem with that is you can't prove it."

Clarke said the Los Angeles Police Department likely wouldn't have the expertise to trace such an attack. "I think you'd probably need the very best of the U.S. government intelligence or law enforcement officials to discover it."

Topics: Internet of Things

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