New report suggests cybercriminals can hack e-bikes and collect rider info
Researchers reportedly warn that hackers can now cause a series of attacks in e-scooters, including eavesdropping on users and even spoof GPS systems to direct riders to unintended locations. Currently, governments, including India, plan more e-bikes on roads to help tackle traffic congestion.
The team of researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio reportedly said that vendors of Micro mobility vehicles can also suffer denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and data leaks. “We have identified and outlined a variety of weak points or attack surfaces in the current ride-sharing, or micro-mobility, ecosystem that could potentially be exploited by malicious adversaries right from inferring the riders' private data to causing economic losses to service providers and remotely controlling the vehicles' behaviour and operation,” Jadliwala reportedly said.
Computer science experts at the university have published the first review of the security and privacy risks posed by e-scooters and their related software services and applications. According to the review, to appear in the proceedings of the 2nd ACM Workshop on Automotive and Aerial Vehicle Security (AutoSec 2020), hackers can cause a series of attacks.
The micro-mobility e-scooter analysis was conducted by Jadliwala alongside graduate students Nisha Vinayaga-Sureshkanth, Raveen Wijewickrama and post-doctoral fellow Anindya Maiti. The global e-Bike market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.01 per cent to reach $38.6 billion by 2025 from an estimated $21.1 billion in 2018, according to marketsandmarkets research firm.
Some e-scooter models communicate with the rider’s smartphone over a Bluetooth Low Energy channel. Reports suggest that someone with malicious intent could eavesdrop on these wireless channels and listen to data exchanges between the scooter and riders’ smartphone app by means of easily and cheaply accessible hardware and software tools such as Ubertooth and WireShark.
Those who sign up to use e-scooters also offer up a great deal of personal and sensitive data beyond just billing information. According to the study, providers automatically collect other analytics, such as location and individual vehicle information. This data can be pieced together to generate an individual profile that can even include a rider’s preferred route, personal interests, and home and work locations.
“Cities are experiencing explosive population growth. Micro mobility promises to transport people in a more sustainable, faster and economical fashion,” said Jadliwala.
*Edited from an IANS report.