The more technology that is present in a vehicle, the more points of vulnerability that car will possess that may be exploited by a hacker. This is the sentiment of ex-NSA spy Charles Miller who demonstrated, in a 2016 Viceland clip of CyberWar, a variety of NSA hacking tricks the agency could use on a target’s vehicle.
In the video Miller shows how the ‘head-unit’ of a vehicle, essentially an on-board computer managing radio, climate control, navigation, etc., can be hacked so as to allow for malicious tampering of the vehicle’s characteristics. Among the characteristics that can be affected following cyber-breach of the on-board computer include the steering, transmission (switch the vehicle to neutral), engine (kill the engine), and gas-pedal (accelerate the vehicle). Miller remarks that he could even turn a “radio-station on in a million cars” simultaneously.
So the NSA, and one may infer the CIA, do possess the capacity to remotely (or via hardlink) hack vehicles. This is incontestable.
Michael Hastings’ and his Mercedes Coup
On June 18th, 2013 journalist Michael Hastings was killed when his car crashed into a tree and exploded in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.
His body was scorched beyond recognition and was only then identified through fingerprint analysis. A few days thereafter his death was deemed free of ‘foul-play’, alluding to the possibility that his death was the result of some conspiracy relating to the stories he would write.
Prior to his death, Hastings was in the process of completing a piece on CIA Director John Brennan which, as evidenced by an email of Fred Burton released by Wikileaks, was likely to have netted much negative attention from the director himself. The email reads:
“Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning
information from inside the beltway sources. Note — There is specific tasker from the WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is
shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…”
Brennan and witch hunts? Referencing the above, surely Michael Hastings presented himself as a target.
Was Hastings killed as the result of a conspiracy to silence him? The internet is replete with speculation. Truthfully, we don’t know.
What is known however is that the security establishment, namely the CIA, has a consistent historical record of ‘mopping up’ situations and people counter to its agenda. We will bring examples forward…