Hackers are using laptops to steal cars. iStock / twinsterphoto

Things in IoT You Need to Know This Week: July 4 – July 8

This week, the WSJ says car thieves are becoming more tech savvy, South Korea is launching an IoT network, and UCLA researchers are making privacy recommendations for IoT developers. 

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Stealing Cars with Laptops

A new breed of car thieves is emerging. Armed with laptops, one tech-savvy hacker has reportedly stolen several Wranglers and Cherokees in Houston. “We don’t know what he is exactly doing with the laptop, but my guess is he is tapping into the car’s computer and marrying it with a key he may already have with him so he can start the car,” senior police officer James Woods told the Wall Street Journal. The National Insurance Crime Bureau also notes that it has seen an uptick in thefts of newer cars with “mystery” electronic devices.

Already the Second Crash of a Self-Driving Tesla?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the July 1–rollover crash of a Tesla in Pennsylvania, which may have occurred when the vehicle was in its Autopilot driver-assist mode. The administration is also investigating a similar but fatal crash that happened in May in Florida. According to Reuters, police identified a laptop and DVD player among the wreckage of that crash but they do not know if the driver was distracted at the time of the crash. 

Creating Highways to Generate Electricity

Missouri’s Department of Transportation is working with a startup named Solar Roadways to convert a section of the historic Route 66 with solar panels. The startup has received grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as more than $2 million in crowdfunding cash. On a related note, the United Kingdom began testing in-road wireless charging for electric vehicles in 2015.

South Korea Debuts First IoT Network

South Korea, which/ already has the fastest average Internet connection speed in the world, is introducing a countrywide Internet of Things network, writes the BBC. The country will join the Netherlands as being among the first nations to have a national IoT network. The cost of using the network will be inexpensive, costing as little as 350 Korean won ($0.30) and 2000 won on the higher end. The project has the support of SK Telecom, which is working on laying the groundwork for the infrastructure with an investment of 100 billion won by the end of 2017.

Smart Cities Need Cash and Leadership to Succeed

UK-based street-lighting equipment maker Lucy Zodion has released a report suggesting that the United Kingdom lacks the requisite investment and guidance to establish a proven model for smart cities. “Unless significant changes are made, we will continue to see inconsistent approaches to smart cities from councils across the UK,” explained the report, which was summarized by Public Technology.

UCLA Researchers Hope to Thwart IoT-Driven Privacy Invasion

Researchers have developed a proposal for a service known as LocationSafe, a privacy module that enables users tight control over privacy, writes the Motherboard. At present, many applications that collect user data offer binary permissions, enabling users to share data or not to share it. But the UCLA researchers recommended against this black-or-white approach. Instead, they recommended that a user would be able to specify the accuracy with which they are tracked and how that information is shared.

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