A trove of new Wikileaks documents reveal that the CIA is capable of committing "undetectable assassinations" by hacking into the computer systems of autonomous cars. While the CIA has neither confirmed nor debunked the allegations, a number of security experts said they know enough about the CIA to know that the agency could actually murder people by hacking into peoples' cars. This has raised a number of concerns about the future of autonomous cars and how well they could protect their owners from hackers and malicious programs.
What are Wikileaks allegations against the CIA?
Wikileaks has always been known as a whistle-blower, and many of its revelations have sent chills up the spines of government organizations. Wikileaks revealed in October 2014 that the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence has the capability to exploit security loopholes in autonomous cars to wreak havoc on targeted owners. To this extent, the federal agency is also alleged to be exploiting vulnerabilities in smart TVs, smartphones and vehicle computer systems to gain control of their owners, Computerworld reveals.
To drive home this assertion, Wikileaks disclosed over 8,700 documents earlier this week to nail the CIA over its capabilities to hack into the mobile devices and auto vehicles of people. Considering that about 250 million vehicles equipped with cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity will have left production lines by 2020, it is considered that many people will be under the mercy of the CIA and illegal hackers. Unethical hackers may hack into the security equipment of people for financial gain and ransoms, but the CIA can only do so for eliminating people, security experts say.
Security experts say there is reason to be worried with this development
Kit Walsh, an attorney with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), says people should be worried about their security considering that vehicles are getting more computerized than ever before. She added that the duty of the government is to identify security vulnerabilities in products and alert manufacturers on how to plug these loopholes, not to exploit the loopholes as the CIA and other hackers are capable of doing. Walsh noted the government should only use security loopholes in devices and vehicles to bolster national defense, not to harm people or put them at risks of harm.
Bruce Schneier, a computer security specialist and cryptographer, states that the CIA had always been ahead at exploiting technologies to spy on people and eliminate perceived enemies of the state. And that hacking the computer systems of autonomous cars to harm people wouldn't be beyond what the CIA could do with leisure. He added that if Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek could demonstrate hacking into the braking system of the Jeep Cherokee, then the CIA could do the same to achieve their security purposes for good or for bad.