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4/30/2014
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Bluetooth Smart: Secure Enough For Cars?

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology -- also known as Bluetooth Smart -- promises new conveniences to vehicle owners. But the security still needs work.

Carmakers are planning to exploit Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology -- also known as Bluetooth Smart -- so that vehicle owners can open and close doors and windows or adjust seats, mirrors, and lighting, by touching a smartphone or key fob, or punching a wirelessly controlled in-vehicle button.

Setting aside the perceived convenience to car users, there's an overwhelming upside for car OEMs to embrace the Bluetooth Smart technology. By going wireless, carmakers can replace the rat's nest of wires strung all over the inside of a car. They can worry less about wiring complexity and wire inventory while reducing overall auto weight. What's not to like?

But here's the thing. How secure is Bluetooth Smart for controlling body electronics inside cars?

By its nature, the use of any wireless technology "raises a flag" on security, Luca De Ambroggi, principal analyst for automotive semiconductors at IHS Technology, recently told EE Times. Though he stressed that BLE is probably much more secure than wireless technologies such as WiFi or LTE, De Ambroggi conveyed a suspicion that the industry is working behind the scenes to plug some security holes in Bluetooth Smart -- and it's not quite finished.

Read the rest of this article on EE Times.

 

Former beat reporter, bureau chief, and editor in chief of EE Times, Junko Yoshida now spends a lot of her time covering the global electronics industry with a particular focus on China. Her beat has always been emerging technologies and business models that enable a new ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/5/2014 | 8:19:15 AM
Re: Hacks
When I first started talking about hacking cars I heard a lot of laughing no one believed that it could or would happen.  I heard a lot of comments like "the car companies would never let that happen" and "if that could happen the auto industry would be dead" yet here we are discussing another possible attack vector.  I'm not a all the tin foil hat type but I do think the general public is oblivious to how automotive computer systems work and what can be done with them.  
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
5/4/2014 | 4:54:03 AM
Re: Hacks
Exactly - at the current stage I won't allow bluetooth in my car. Nowadays many vendors start to put in a plug for Internet of Things on the car. But I can predict that the virus/attacks will soon prevail in this new application area. Adding Bluetooth at the current stage will just add more complexity. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/1/2014 | 7:47:12 AM
Re: Hacks
Agreed, there are so many hacks out there now that I don't think adding Bluetooth to the mix should be taken lightly.  We've seen attacks that can turn trigger warning lights, activate brakes, turn the car off, etc.  Locking and unlocking doors seems tame compared to some proof of concept examples out there.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
4/30/2014 | 10:07:49 PM
Hacks
Given the previous supposed vulnerabilities with in-car networks, it gets a bit more concerning the more cars expand on this dependency. Let's hope then that the security concerns can be addressed properly before this is a common implementation.
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