Car Hacking, Foreign Hacking & Bitcoin
This week saw the introduction of two new laws in the US. Michigan introduced laws for hackers who compromise vehicle systems, and the US Supreme court passed a law that now allows the FBI to legally hack systems provided that the systems are in foreign countries. In addition to these two laws, an Australian named Craig Wright has come out to news channels claiming that he is the creator of Bitcoin, but security experts such as Dan Kaminsky have pointed out that this news is either a hoax or the information provided is not accurate.
Michiganâ€™s new law imposes severe penalties for hackers who compromise vehicles. The law states that hackers can go to jail for life if caught and convicted. It is not a surprise since hacking into a car can be a life threatening activity. Last year, several vehicle systems were shown to have critical security flaws where hackers were able to control the computer system and even remotely turn off the brakes and shut down the engine in some vehicles.
One issue with the law is that there is no clear line between research and criminal activity. As it currently stands, the law only states that hacking into a vehicle holds severe punishments. If a researcher hacks into his own car and publishes details, the researcher could potentially face criminal charges. This inhibits healthy research and analysis for security professionals, ultimately making cars less safe.
A decision by the US Supreme Court gives the FBI permission to hack any computer provided they have a warrant. Normally, warrants are required in the US before law enforcement can gain access to private property. However, this new law allows the FBI and law enforcement to issue warrants to hack any computer across the globe. This will probably continue to be a trend with other countries as governments look for ways to hack foreign systems. It is also important to point on that the hacking of foreign computers is nothing new. The Supreme Court decision merely puts this activity on legal footing in the US.
Finally, an Australian man by the name of Craig Wright posted supposed evidence that he is the creator of Bitcoin. His proof consisted of signed messages using cryptographic keys used during the early days of the crypto currency which supposedly are the keys used by Satoshi Nakamoto â€“ the pseudonym used by Bitcoinâ€™s creator. However, security experts such as Dan Kaminsky have quickly pointed out that the supposed proof was an elaborately staged hoax. The creator of Bitcoin therefore remains unknown.