Bad Hacking Ideas: Disgruntled Employee Disables More than 100 Cars
Article by George Norman
On 19 Mar 2010
Losing your job is hard – doubly so in these harsh times. But taking it out on your former employer is not the appropriate course of action. Going out for a cold one with your friends, who will offer you support, may be a better choice. It is a choice that a man fired from a Texas auto dealership chose to disregard.

Omar Ramos-Lopez, age 20, used to work for the Texas Auto Center dealership in Austin. This is a cautious dealership that would hate to see customers miss payments on the cars they bought. So it fitted the cars with GPS devices that can be accessed remotely and that can disable the vehicle. To put it simply, the dealership, via the internet, can cause any of the vehicles it sold to stop working.


This measure is implemented so that the repo guys can repossess the car, should the customer fail to make the payments on it. To further help the repo guys, the GPS devices can also activate the car’s horn – this should make it even easier to locate the car.

Can you see where this is going? So Omar Ramos-Lopez got fired from the Texas Auto Center dealership. He then used a colleague’s password to access the GPS devices installed on more than 100 vehicles sold by the dealership. By doing so he caused the vehicles to stop working – in some cases to stop working and start honking incisively. The former dealership employee has been arrested and charged with “felony breach of computer security.”

“He caused these customers, now victims, to miss work,” Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Aguinaga said. “They didn't get paid. They had to get tow trucks. They didn't know what was going on with their vehicles.”

It did not stop there. Omar Ramos-Lopez accessed the dealership’s system and changed customers’ names and ordered parts worth $130,000 from the company that makes the GPS devices.

Tags: Hacking, Dealership, Cars, GPS
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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Bad Hacking Ideas: Disgruntled Employee Disables More than 100 Cars
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