Being in a car wash is soothing. It’s like having a 10-minute escape from life with no fear of interruption, discussion or radio noise. Better yet, if you’re into psychedelic experiences, watching the pink, green and blue foam plop on the windshield is great food for the imagination.

Although, I can’t say I ever imagined the pink foam attacking me… incessantly… with no opportunity to escape. Ridiculous thought?

Based on this week’s news regarding a recent report, we have learned that computer hackers are now able to hack a carwash and “…gain control of the mechanical arm that sprays wash chemicals and water on the vehicle.” What’s worse is that according to the report, hackers can also lock the carwash bay doors so that innocent car owners (along with napping kids, dogs, groceries, etc.) can’t escape.

So What? Some of you will disregard the comical notion of being “attacked” by a car wash foam sprayer – and rightly so. But, there’s a bigger picture here to consider. If you are not familiar with the term “Internet of Things,” I would suggest you read up. The following articles provide a good overview of how your own security might be at risk and what measures the government is considering to protect citizens.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/07/20/the-internet-of-things-big-and-getting-bigger/#b6be6c7aa5b7

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-senators-to-introduce-bill-to-secure-internet-of-things-2017-8

To summarize: Very soon, all of our appliances, vehicles, medical devices, etc. – basically every “thing” – will potentially be connected to a computer network that can be vulnerable to attack by folks driven by either mal-intent, social causes or merely for a good prank.

Those of you who take potential threats seriously and are asking, “Is there something I can do?”

The way I see it, you have two options:

  1. Move off the grid where people wash their cars the old-fashioned way – with a hose and bucket.
  2. Get educated on the risks of participating in a networked world.

Here are a couple resources that provide some basic tips on how to protect yourself from the vulnerabilities of networked devices:

http://www.lifehack.org/353418/10-essential-security-tips-for-your-internet-things

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/05/03/5-simple-steps-to-protect-yourself-from-iot-security-threats/#204457bc2b22

The good news is that there have been no known car wash attacks reported to date – according to the article. The bad news? Thanks to the visibility of this report (and this blog), we can now look forward to hackers attempting it! I bet you’ll never look at a car wash the same again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *