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Autonomous Travel

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toyomotor View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 May 2017 at 07:16
In many of the developed countries of the world the race is on to design and build autonomous vehicles, vessels and aircraft-modes of transport requiring no driver.

Already trials have been held in some countries of autonomous motor vehicles, and countries like the USA have already used unmanned aircraft for surveillance and to deliver ordnance with pinpoint accuracy. The US has also built prototype vessels, submarines and tanks with a view to reducing the death rate of human beings in the field.

Some companies are talking about autonomous taxis and buses, others are talking about large ocean going vessels.

All seem to have ignored the elephant in the room. Hackers!

Hackers have penetrated some of the most secure business and government computer systems in the world. Imagine the havoc they could wreak by accessing the computer systems that, for example, guide an autonomous taxi fleet. The ramifications could be enormous. Traffic gridlock and death are only two of the potential problems.

At present, pirates in some parts of the world are hijacking large cargo ships. If the ships become computer guided, the same thing could be accomplished without them ever leaving shore.

Has the technological race gone astray?


I often wonder why I try.
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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2017 at 02:44
I like that, "Traffic gridlock and death are only two of the potential problems."  Actually I think death is the solution (dissolution?) to all our problems.  It is kind of like saying paper cuts and impalment are two possible personal injuries.

But no, I don't think the technological race has gone astray, because I don't think it was ever on track in the first place.  We seem to be safety conscious, but as far as the environment is concerned, we are operating without a net, and a lot of species are facing extinction these days, although in somethings it seems like it might be getting better.

Personally, I think that if we had a dime for every depiction of a penguin, we would have a lot of dimes for penguin preservation.  If a company wants to put a penguin on a backpack, a dime from it should go to the penguins.  Think of it, a measly dime for the King and Emperor Penguins!

Hacking is right now, just the cost of doing business.  Everybody else is grabbing their piece of the pie, why shouldn't the hackers do it themselves?  Some might have high minded goals, but I tend to think that for most it is a power trip.

So, I am curious, if you are iffy about hackers, what do you think of Assange or Snowden?  There are those who get their reward in this life, and those who will get it in heaven.  I tend to think they will get their "reward" in this life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2017 at 12:02
franciscosan

Re Assange et al.

I'm not really sure, because I don't know what actual damage they've caused. On one hand I could think that they're patriots properly disclosing improper activity by the intelligence agencies, on the other hand, depending precisely what they've done, I could believe them to be traitors, especially if they've endangered troops overseas.

But that's all off topic. Just think of what hackers could do with unmanned nuclear submarines, or warships.
I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2017 at 00:52
That is why military systems are different than civilian systems.  You would think that someone trained in computers in the military would be able to get a job in the civilian sector after discharge.  However, because the systems are different, the military computer skills are not necessarily translatable to civilian computer systems.
Hacking into signals might be a danger, but hacking into military computer systems is pretty hard, which is why when they are compromised, it is because of individuals in positions of trust betray that trust and do what they used to call a sneaker transfer.  They download data and carry it out of secure instillations.  They walk it out, and steal it, giving it to someone who uploads it to wikileaks.  Manning and Snowden are traitors, and Assange is essentially a fence for the stolen data.  They all are on a personal crusade, and like the medieval crusades, their crusades are more about ego and profit, and less about righteousness than they can admit to themselves.  
 I don't think there are any unmanned nuclear submarines or warships.  But I can imagine a remote control oil tanker, or transport ship running aground because its signals get scrabbled.  I don't think it has happened yet, but you are right, at some point hacking into transport systems is bound to cause a lot of problems.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2017 at 06:00
Yes, believe it or not, I do understand that there is a difference between civilian and military computer systems, but you're wrong when you say there's no opportunity for crossover by personnel. There most certainly is.

Do you really believe that the military systems are impervious to hackers? I'm afraid if you do, you're living in dream world. That's why the military works full time to change and improve it's security systems. That's part of the raison d'être for the US Cyber Command, to track what others are doing electronically and to prevent electronic attacks on US targets. (Can you have part of a raison d'être? I don't know, but you know what I mean).


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2017 at 23:30
I said, "the military computer skills are not necessarily translatable to civilian computer systems."  I did not say "there's no opportunity for crossover by personnel."  You read into what I said too much.

For hacking, there has to be a point of entry for the hacker or virus.  If a computer system is independent (not connected with) from public systems, it is hard to hack them.  What Snowden and Manning did circumvents the independence of the system through a social hack, where the weakest link of the chain, is an individual that compromises the computer system by illegally downloading stuff they were not supposed to do so.  And they knew that.

Again, drones would be something different because they rely on signals.  I think the question of whether a cruise missile would be hack-able would be interesting, but probably not once it is en-route. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2017 at 07:44
And precisely what do you think the personnel take with them from one job to the other?

Could it be their computer skills?

Come on Franky, you're being argumentative for the sake of it. Certain skills, for example, the ability to program in very high tech computer languages is a transportable skill. Keyboard typing is a portable skill. The ability to detect unauthorised intrusion into a system is a portable skill. And so it goes on.

We've all heard stories about agencies such as the FBI and CIA hiring young hackers. Portable skills?
I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2017 at 20:30
First of all, I am just repeating what I have heard in the general news, that people in the military with a computer background have a harder time getting jobs in the private sector than one would expect.  Second of all, what an employer is looking for is knowledge of a particular spread sheet, or word processor, or graphics program, or even a particular computer language, is it really that hard to imagine that military computers use different programming languages than civilian systems?  Of course, some skills are translatable, typing for example (although there _are_ different keyboard configurations possible), or translatable to a degree, if you are familiar with one spread sheet, you can more easily figure out another spread sheet, but for an employer who wants a new employee working (and not just being trained) on day 1, that might not be enough.  Of course, a general knowledge of computer programs and computers will help learn more, and will help hackers figure out their way in, out and around computer systems, but hackers are doing something different than someone designing a website, or doing e-commerce.  No, I think you, toyomotor, are the one being difficult:P not I. :)

Of course, the military, the FBI, etc. _also_ have systems that are public.  I imagine that most army bases have a website that is available for servicemen and others to log on and exchange pictures or recipes or whatever.  I mean recently there was a scandal about Marines exchanging pictures of nude or topless women personel, which doing so is against the code of conduct for probably both the the men and women personel.  There is a whole military culture which probably runs on "public" systems (that doesn't mean they are not encrypted or password protected, etc.), but then there are the military systems that are different, often physically inaccessible from the outside (except to thieves like Manning and Snowden), a different system altogether, and possibly hardened to protect against EMP.  Airforce One is hardened against EMP, but so are the computer systems of a lot of aircraft. That does not mean that it is impossible to hack a tank or a drone, but it is probably _much_ more difficult than hacking a public hospital using a bug in the Microsoft operating system.  Is it impossible?  I would say no, but that is based on knowledge of human stupidity and arrogance, not computer systems.  The human factor is the weakest link in the chain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2017 at 01:50
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

First of all, I am just repeating what I have heard in the general news, that people in the military with a computer background have a harder time getting jobs in the private sector than one would expect.  Second of all, what an employer is looking for is knowledge of a particular spread sheet, or word processor, or graphics program, or even a particular computer language, is it really that hard to imagine that military computers use different programming languages than civilian systems?  Of course, some skills are translatable, typing for example (although there _are_ different keyboard configurations possible), or translatable to a degree, if you are familiar with one spread sheet, you can more easily figure out another spread sheet, but for an employer who wants a new employee working (and not just being trained) on day 1, that might not be enough.  Of course, a general knowledge of computer programs and computers will help learn more, and will help hackers figure out their way in, out and around computer systems, but hackers are doing something different than someone designing a website, or doing e-commerce.  No, I think you, toyomotor, are the one being difficult:P not I. :)

Of course, the military, the FBI, etc. _also_ have systems that are public.  I imagine that most army bases have a website that is available for servicemen and others to log on and exchange pictures or recipes or whatever.  I mean recently there was a scandal about Marines exchanging pictures of nude or topless women personel, which doing so is against the code of conduct for probably both the the men and women personel.  There is a whole military culture which probably runs on "public" systems (that doesn't mean they are not encrypted or password protected, etc.), but then there are the military systems that are different, often physically inaccessible from the outside (except to thieves like Manning and Snowden), a different system altogether, and possibly hardened to protect against EMP.  Airforce One is hardened against EMP, but so are the computer systems of a lot of aircraft. That does not mean that it is impossible to hack a tank or a drone, but it is probably _much_ more difficult than hacking a public hospital using a bug in the Microsoft operating system.  Is it impossible?  I would say no, but that is based on knowledge of human stupidity and arrogance, not computer systems.  The human factor is the weakest link in the chain.

OK, fair enough. But I'm thinking that you're thinking of people further down the food chain. I'm thinking of your daily average genius.

But anyway, back to topic, do you maintain that hackers could not create mayhem with autonomous or semi autonomous vehicles, vessels and aircraft?

I'd like to think that you're right, but only time will tell I suppose.


I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2017 at 22:33
No more or less mayhem that a disgruntled ex-serviceman does by mowing down people in Times Square, or Berlin or the French Riveria.  Yes, they can create some mayhem, but I don't see that as being qualitatively different from right now, of course the media will make a big deal out of it when it happens.

Who knows, maybe suicide bombers will be less into it, I bet you don't get the glory and the 72 virgins for hacking a remote car.

But when it happens, we will have a whole new thing for the public to fear, public perception-wise that is.  And it will sell lots of newspapers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2017 at 02:43
More than death and injury, hacking of autonomous vehicles, vessels and aircraft could have such a dramatic effect on global trade and finances as to bring them to their knees. Oil Tankers hijacked, or threatened to be deliberately run ashore, aircraft the same, and motor vehicles blocking major highways and clogging cities' transport arteries.

A few hundred deaths would be the least of the worlds worries I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2017 at 00:59
And yet, life will go on.  Won't have to worry as much about drunk sea-captains as much....
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