Disgruntled worker hacks car dealer computer disabling over 100 cars

Mar 18, 2010
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Disgruntled worker hacks car dealer computer disabling over 100 cars

About 100 customers who purchased vehicles from Texas Auto Center in Austin Texas found out the hard way that tech can affect their lives. The drivers had all purchased vehicles from Texas Auto Center that were fitted with remote systems that could disable the cars and make the horns honk uncontrollably.

The systems were installed to allow the dealership to disable the vehicles if the owner didn’t make payments. The system is called Webtech Plus and is an alternative to repossessing the vehicles when payments haven't been made. The dealership fired a worker named Omar Ramos-Lopez who was able to later gain access to the computer system that controls the Webtech plus equipped vehicles and disabled about 100 vehicles and made horns honk.

Wired quotes Martin Garcia, manager of the dealership, saying, "We initially dismissed it as mechanical failure,” says Texas Auto Center manager Martin Garcia. “We started having a rash of up to a hundred customers at one time complaining. Some customers complained of the horns going off in the middle of the night. The only option they had was to remove the battery."

Ramos-Lopez is now in police custody after authorities tracked him down using the IP address of his computer. The man is in jail on a $3,000 bond with charges filed against him for computer intrusion.


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