In an era of “black hats,” denial-of-service attacks, worms, and viruses, society is increasingly turning to computer scientists for solutions.
Much of the debate has centered on cyber crime, surveillance, and securing the Internet. A group of computer scientists at UC San Diego have warned of new threats arising as cyber security threats make their way into cyber-physical systems.
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering computer science and engineering professor Stefan Savage and fellow professor Hovav Shacham — along with colleagues from the University of Washington — have generated controversy and debate over their contention that today’s computer-laden automobiles and other forms of public transformation are vulnerable to attacks from hackers.
In “Computing Primetime: Planes, Trains and Automobiles” — a 28-minute video produced by UCSD-TV in partnership with UCSD's Computer Science and Engineering Department — moderator Rajesh Gupta, the department's chair, discusses the compelling issues of cyber security with Savage and Shacham.
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As Savage puts it: “You don’t think of your car as being software version 3.1, but it is. …These are fundamentally computers. It’s just that they’re [also] computers that control a two-ton vehicle that we have hurtling forward with us in it at 75 miles an hour.”
For his part, Shacham has uncovered surprising security vulnerabilities involving the full-body backscatter, X-ray scanners deployed at entrances to airports, train stations and other public places.