Posted in: Automotive

Digital Carjackers Show Forbes How To Crash Cars, Fuel Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories [Video]

Digital carjackers met with Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg to demonstrate how they can program a Ford Escape’s computer systems and crash it pretty much by pushing a button. On Wednesday, Forbes posted the video to YouTube, and you’re probably going to want to watch it, so press that button.

Warning: For some reason Andy Greenberg thinks we want to know that he flew out to meet these dudes on an an airplane. I’ve seen enough airports in my life. If you have too, I advise you to skip ahead to about the 0.58 mark where we actually meet digital carjackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek.

The trio plus an unseen camera person test the 3,500 pound Ford Escape in the weedy parking lot of a South Bend, Indiana strip mall.

With Greenberg at the wheel, the digital carjackers mess with the reporter’s mind by making his dashboard show more gas in the car than he actually has or by making his speedometer read 199 miles per hour.

The scariest stunt involves making the brakes fail with a melodramatic bellow — fortunately at 5 miles per hour so that nobody is hurt.

There’s much, much more in Greenberg’s article available online as well in the August 12 issue of Forbes.

The takeaway seems to be that bad guys can mess with your car computer just like they can with any other computer. And I don’t see why not.

However, what Greenberg, Miller, and Valasek may — or may not — know is that they have just fueled the flames of a thousand burning candles of conspiracy.

I got this story from someone who was looking into the death of Michael Hastings, the BuzzFeed reporter killed in a high speed car crash on June 18 in Los Angeles.

From what I’ve seen of Los Angeles, that kind of death isn’t too unusual.

But some people have speculated that he was killed because of his opposition to what he called the surveillance state.

I have no reason to believe that’s true. Andy Greenberg doesn’t mention Michael Hastings in the video or the online copy of his article.

But YouTube viewers of the videos are not so circumspect. Comment after comment reads: “RIP Michael Hastings” or “Hum… so is this what they did to Hastings when he was assassinated by the government goons?”

This is the kind of thing Twitter is saying about digital carjackers and Michael Hastings:

So what’s my take? Right now I believe that, yes, car computers can be hacked.

And I believe a reporter was killed in a car accident in Los Angeles.

But, no, I need a lot more than some random video to make me believe digital carjackers killed Michael Hastings. Comments are open.

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8 Responses to “Digital Carjackers Show Forbes How To Crash Cars, Fuel Michael Hastings Conspiracy Theories [Video]”

  1. Steve Vee

    Unfortunately, I DON'T need a lot more than some random video to make me believe digital carjackers killed Michael Hastings.

    Maybe a report that his corpse was destroyed before an autopsy and against his family's wishes.

    Or maybe if a Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism under Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 came out and said that what is known about the single-vehicle crash is "consistent with a car cyber attack."

    If I had something like that too, then I'd believe digital carjackers killed Michael Hastings.

  2. Howard Crise

    If an AP reporter had died in the Mercedes on June 18 in L.A., wouldn't AP now be scrambling to connect the dots?

    "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." ~ Japanese proverb

  3. Bill Edwards

    I assume the author is unfamiliar with the circumstances surrounding Hastings' death. Please do that research and then comment. I do not know if Hastings' death was an accident, but there is cause to be concerned that it was not.

    This famed investigative reporter had just published an article concerning Obama's "War on the Press". Hours before his death, he sent a panicked email to friends claiming he was working on a major story regarding the NSA, that the feds had started questioning his associates, and that he needed to "get off the radar." He told his wife and other friends that he was working on a major story regarding the CIA (not the NSA? or including the NSA? or a different story? unclear), and specifically told his wife he couldn't discuss it with her for fear of putting her life in danger. Videos show his car speeding through a red light without slowing down minutes before his death, and evidence at the crash site demonstrates that he was speeding at perhaps the max speed of his vehicle, and that the brakes were not applied. He apparently hasn't had a drink in 5 years, and he crashed on a deserted straightaway at 430am. At least one witness claimed that explosions occurred before the vehicle crashed. The Mercedes he was driving is capable of being hacked and remotely crashed. This is why former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke stated that the accident bears all of the earmarks of a cyber hack.

    And we know that Obama is quite willing to act as judge, jury and executioner by automated device even for 16 year old American kids such as Al-Awaki's son, who had apparently done nothing besides being Al-Awaki's son. This is the same Obama who has decided that investigative reporters working on leaks regarding US governmental misconduct may be deemed "criminal co-conspirators", an obvious attempt to weasel around the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in the Pentagon Papers case. He's labeled leakers such as Julian Assange as "terrorists". And we know what Obama does to anyone he deems to be a terrorist.

  4. Eric Dondero Rittberg

    Funny how leftist conspiracy theorists believe Hastings was murdered because of military spying. Those of us on the right, have a different view. Hastings started turning against the Obama administration in months before his death. He started moving towards the right, towards Tea Party libertarianism. Did he know too much of the inner workings of the Democrat Party? Too many scandals under the hood on the left he was aware of?