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It seems even the humble skateboard isn’t immune to hacking, as The Register reports that the ‘Boosted’ brand of electric skateboards has been compromised by a pair of hackers.
Boosted boards contain a small motor to speed them up while going down hills, and to assist with climbs, with an app controlling the motor over Bluetooth. But Richo Healey and Mike Ryan discovered a method of blocking the Bluetooth signal between the board and the controller, which could then force it to be paired with a laptop.
In short, this meant the board could be taken over while moving, which could lead to dangerous side-effects for the person riding the board.
The hack was demonstrated at the Kiwicon conference, where a script was written to make the board buck around, with brave delegates encouraged to ride the hacked board.
Speaking to The Register, Healey explained the possible consequences of the hack. “At places like traffic lights where you definitely know people are going to stop you could just nab a skater as they go past. The attack would absolutely land within 30 seconds, and possibly 10.”
The hack could be automated using scripts, the pair said, meaning that an attacker could target the board just by carrying a laptop around. “The simplest way to do this would be to get something that generates a whole lot of noise on the 2.4Ghz spectrum to disconnect the controller,” Ryan explained.
Boosted was alerted to the exploit, and has issued a firmware fix with the pair’s assistance. But even without a fix in place, Ryan doesn’t believe the hack would have much real-world use: “You could realistically use this as a means to target someone, but you could also just hit them with a car.”
Author Alan Martin, ESET