If My Volkswagon Car, Why Not My Tank?

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Terminator Skynet
If My Volkswagon Car, Why Not My Tank?
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)-  In James Wesley Rawles’ Patriots series there is the book “Expatriates: A Novel Of The Coming Global Collapse“.

In that book a radicalized Islamic government takes over Indonesia and starts attacking south Pacific nations that are not Muslim, to eventually include Australia.

The problem is years prior to the attack on Australia, the Australian Navy buys electronic devices from Indonesian manufacturers. The devices are placed on every ship in the Royal Australian Navy. Unbeknownst to the Australian military these devices are designed to explode on demand, and just prior to Indonesia invading Northern Australia, the Indonesians destroy or do major damage to the entire Australian fleet.

I was visiting Scotland this past May and an Australian couple was on our tour. At dinner one evening I was relaying the Expatriates story to this couple about their homeland being attacked.

The wife said it would never happen, but her husband a retired engineer told her it could and most likely will.

As I read this story I wondered how a national defense organization like the Australian military could buy something so potentially destructive (in the fictional story) and not have electronically vetted the purchased equipment—enter Volkswagen.

Allegedly tens of thousands of diesel Volkswagen vehicles are running around the world with some type of electronic “chips” in them that “rigs” the “official” fuel mileage of these cars and trucks. The “chip” according to Volkswagen’s own people makes the vehicle meet standards when testing is done to establish miles per gallon and emissions rates. Then, when the vehicle hits the road for real world usage, the actual mileage and emissions change.

You can hardly find any electronic / computer related product on the world market that is 100% made in one country. Everyone uses everyone else’s parts and no one takes the time to test and vet every chip they buy from an outsourced supplier that is placed into a computer product. There is no real expectation of privacy in the electronic world. If you put something on a computer someone will find it and if they are nefarious they can and will use it against you.

  • On the front page of the Wall Street Journal on 24 September 2015 at the top of that page, was the story about the Volkswagen scandal.
  • Drop down a few lines on the same page and there is a story about the Chinese military hacking computers because of a diplomatic standoff with other countries in the South China Sea.
  • Page A6 of the same paper has a story pertaining to the stealing of sensitive information about federal workers from the Office of Personnel Management, with 20 million people having their records compromised.
  • On page A14 there are comments about the issue of malicious software being attached to computers.

Read tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal and I will bet you will find similar hacking stories.

As an old Infantry trained officer I have a professional fondness for radios and tanks. With radios I can call for help when the world gets too hot on the battlefield and that the best tanks made in the world (US made) can come to my rescue.

But what if, the bad guys got to both prior to the next conflict and placed their own controlling chips in the two things I need most?

Android Cell Phone Resistance Is Futile
Resistance Is Futile

Could this, like the fictitious Australian invasion story, really happen to American military while engage in a hot conflict? Just as I desperately need my radio to call for support the radios shut down. Not to worry there are pre-arranged tactics where even without communication the tanks will roll out and save the day. But not so this time, the tanks will not save you because those nefarious people have used the global shopping network to pass out “bad-guy” chips to good people. This was done, in order to make combat planes, tanks, electronically control artillery, Navy ships, Navy subs, and Volkswagen vehicles used by the US military–fail in time of conflict.

Now the real clincher will be if there are “bad-guy” chips in the cell phones of the west. We, in the west, cannot function without our cell phones. So what if a tiny little sleeper-chip is planted in our cell phones, laptop computers, tablets and pads? On the day the next war starts and you really have a need to contact help you might find your handheld electronics fail you for no apparent reason.

How about if the planted chips were not placed there for malicious-war making reasons, just a company trying to track and quantify customers? However, the “bad-guys” find the chips before the good-guys can neutralize them, and they use these chips to put my “on-call” tanks out of action when the first shots are fired on the opening day of the next war?

Trust no one or anything, especially if computer chips are involved. They are not safe therefore you will not be safe.

Oh, more Volkswagen scandal in today’s Wall Street Journal (15 Oct 2015), this VW crisis is not over—again, are you safe?

Major Van Harl USAF Ret. / [email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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jamie
jamie
6 years ago

“Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta [2], contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny. As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up – or about to be – with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set… Read more »

jamie
jamie
6 years ago

A tank on the modern battlefield today, I am afraid would just be a large target for a missile strike. There was an interesting article a while back Nov 2014 where a US navy destroyer was in the black sea and a Russian plane buzzed by it. Rumor has it that the Su-24 buzzed the ship and “disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up — or about to be — with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down,”… Read more »

Martin
Martin
6 years ago

This reminds me of how the British dealt with the Argentinian Exocet missiles during the Falklands war. The French saw a NATO allied in trouble and gave them the codes to the missiles built-in kill-switches. However, the article seems a bit far fetched, as there is a long way from tampering with engine timing (which is what the VW engines do if the rear wheels are still and the steering wheel is not moving) to putting explosives in electronics. But one sentence caught my eye: “You can hardly find any electronic / computer related product on the world market that… Read more »

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

I think about this every time I see the libs pushing for electronic smart gun technology. The day will come when they show up to put you on the train and with the flick of a switch your gun, cell phone, door locks, car, and electricity will all be disabled.

resistance is futile
resistance is futile
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Don’t forget that EMP can stop smart guns dead. Can you imagine if they suddenly decided they didn’t trust the police or the military and decided to make all their weapons smart weapons? All the enemy has to do is explode an emp burst or get a strong burst from the sun to disable all our weapons.

JohnC
JohnC
6 years ago

The authors reference to VW is well taken. Buy American.

Michael
Michael
6 years ago
Reply to  JohnC

As the article alludes to, there is no ” made in America ” because the companies are outsourcing for cheaper parts. They don’t care about quality, just the bottom line.

Charles Lucas
Charles Lucas
6 years ago

Ok, that’s plenty scary. I am a ex-Army aviator, and am VERY aware of the potential vulnerabilities posed by the increasing reliance on “fly-by-wire” control systems. The idea that an enemy could execute some code and my aircraft would fall out of the sky is disconcerting, to say the least. BTW, I too am an alumni, Basic and Advanced, of Benning School for Boys. 🙂

bob
bob
6 years ago

Glad I’ve got a Mosin, the only chips are in the finish.

Eric
Eric
6 years ago

We could have used Low Jacking the Stinger missiles that Hillary Clinton brokered for Libyan rebels , that when the missiles got to Qatar they ended up going to the Taliban in 2012 in Afghanistan and downed a U.S. Chinook on July 25 2012. The serial number recovered at the scene confirmed it was CIA’s missile , meant for Libya. 400 missiles are in Afghanistan and viable until 2019. Losing control of manpads (Man-portable air-defense systems) is one of the most serious issues today. Smuggling them into target countries if successful could cripple economies and safety of a country through… Read more »

Michael Ring
Michael Ring
6 years ago

We did this to the Soviets sending them chips that would route data back to us. We did it on ourselves with elliptical encryption so the NSA could access our most personal data. Best advice is to assume anything you use digitally is compromised.

The Navy just realized this and is bring back non electronic celestial navigation training.

Walt
Walt
6 years ago

Linux

resistance is futile
resistance is futile
6 years ago

With the outsourcing of programming to china (see Microsoft) of our OS for cheaper labor how can we be sure of what is put into it. We know that Microsoft has put a kill switch in a previous version of Windows without letting users or anyone being aware of it. Do we know what is being put into our primary OS that is being developed in a foreign country? Or what is being put into computers made in those same countries? We are training other countries in the coding of our programs and giving them the ability to hack us… Read more »