newsCarjacking – the often-violent scenario where an automobile is stolen – is among the most prevalent crimes on the planet. But car-hacking?

It’s a possible bad-news byproduct of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication – technology that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) will require for light vehicles. The DOT’s blog notes that V2V could prevent “70 to 80 percent” of traffic accidents involving unimpaired drivers.

But there’s another side to this street, as CNNMoney reported:

“… security experts warn that connecting a computer’s wireless communications technology with its core controls could pave the way for cyberattacks on automobiles.”

Scenarios range from frustrating to life-threatening. Maybe it’s a fender-bender caused by a Wi-Fi-enabled traffic light that incorrectly told your car to stop. Perhaps you’re behind the wheel – but malware is enabling someone else to control it.

“That’s the gateway into the rest of the car,” CA Technologies’ Scott Morrison, who oversees automotive app engineering, told CNNMoney. “Once you’re on board to that central computer, all bets are off.”

All the more reason to make sure your seat belt is on.

Here are four more stories found on the beat:

‘Sick’ days

The four-week, 64-match FIFA World Cup started Thursday. For all the IT admins out there – especially in countries where soccer (err, football) is sports religion – have you noticed crazed colleagues doing less work and more live streaming?

Productivity is sure to dip. How much could it cost the UK? Consider this, from the International Business Times:

“According to a recent survey from employment law specialists ELAS, World Cup 2014 is set to cost Britain £4bn (€4.9bn, $6.7bn) in lost productivity as thousands of workers revealed that they intend to pretend they are ill so they can watch key matches.”

How many people will call in sick – legitimately – if England doesn’t make a deep run?

Practice paranoia

Decreased productivity isn’t the only World Cup-related issue to consider over the next month. There’s also the matter of security.

The Guardian reported that hackers are likely to:

  • Send phishing scams via email and social networks
  • Sabotage web searches for star Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Threaten denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on businesses
  • Hit public Wi-Fi networks
  • Conduct point-of-sale (PoS) attacks to steal credit card data

The article includes these wise words from Rahul Kashyup of security firm Bromium:

“Make ‘paranoid’ your default setting when you go online during this World Cup.”

The cost of cybercrime

Globally, cybercrime hits where it hurts: in the world’s wallet. Research published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) put the cost to the global economy at roughly $445 billion annually, Reuters reported.

“Cybercrime is a tax on innovation and slows the pace of global innovation by reducing the rate of return to innovators and investors,” Jim Lewis of CSIS said. “For developed countries, cybercrime has serious implications for employment.”

The US, China, Germany and Japan accounted for the biggest bulk of loss: $200 billion. The cost connected to stolen personal data totaled $150 billion.

Not so fast

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week was poised to become the next owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. But after agreeing to the sale, banned-for-life owner Donald Sterling reversed course. Sterling now intends to move forward with a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the league, which he claims violated his constitutional rights.

The Associated Press reported that Sterling – whose wife, Shelly, negotiated the sale to Ballmer – issued a one-page statement Monday. It was titled “The Team is not for Sale” and said, “from the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.”

Money, as the Beatles famously sang, can’t buy love. Apparently, Ballmer’s $2 billion can’t buy the Clippers, either.

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