Editor's note: Bryson Bort's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.
A memo dated Oct. 23, 2014, became unexpectedly newsworthy last week. The memo runs through a list of topics discussed at a planning meeting, talks about whether the group needs a branding strategy or a "flagship product" and ends with a reminder to everyone involved that teamwork is dream work.
Pretty banal, office-life stuff.
Except the memo is part of a WikiLeaks dump of internal CIA documents. And two of the bullet items, with a total of 15 words, indicate the CIA was considering exploring how to hack into cars remotely. It specifically mentions software developed by Canada's BlackBerry QNX.
The revelation resulted in a lot of panicky headlines, but security experts have shrugged it off.
"None of it's that surprising," said Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, San Diego. "It's their job. Their job is to spy on people."
Some have interpreted the memo to mean the CIA already can and does hack into cars. A few conspiracy theorists have made the leap from this memo to the puzzling death in a car crash of journalist Michael Hastings in 2013, which came shortly after he told friends he was working on a big investigative government story and that he needed to go underground for a while.
While these conclusions may be wildly off base, cybersecurity analysts are kind of enjoying the attention. For them, it promises to bring awareness to a security issue they believe has been under the radar for too long, despite years of high-profile hacking incidents across a variety of industries.
"Then this comes along and becomes a real issue," said Ariel Sobelman, president of HDBaseT Alliance, a group working toward standardizing in-car connections and security.