Researchers Hack Cars, Take Over Steering, Lights, Console, Seat Belt

Car manufacturers don't appear to be too concerned

By on August 3rd, 2013 08:12 GMT

At the DEF CON 21 security convention researchers have demonstrated that hacking cars is not something out of a science-fiction movie.

Cyberattacks against cars are not new, but the presentation made by Twitter security engineer Charlie Miller and IOActive Director of Security Intelligence Chris Valasek, and the one of Zoz, of Cannytophic Design, have proved that car hacking is definitely possible.

First, Miller and Valasek demonstrated they could practically drive a car from a laptop. They managed not only to steer the car, but also accelerate it, yank the seat belt tight, play with the lights, turn off the engine, make the console show that the car is going at 199Mph, and honk the horn.

In the upcoming period, the experts plan on publishing 101 pages of code and data detailing their work.

The duo tested their research on a 2010 Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius. One the one hand, Ford representatives have told Forbes that they take hacking “very seriously.”

On the other, Toyota says it’s confident that its systems are robust and secure against remote car hacking, which the company considers real hacking.

“Our focus, and that of the entire auto industry, is to prevent hacking from a remote wireless device outside of the vehicle,” Toyota Safety Manager John Hanson noted.

Zoz also agrees that “car hacking is definitely coming.” He believes that autonomous cars, the ones that can perform various tasks on their own, are like robots, CNET reports.

The large number of sensors integrated into them can be blocked with a denial-of-service attack. In addition, spoofing can be used to make them retrieve arbitrary data.

And the most worrying fact is that many of the sensors can be attacked with low-cost equipment.

Below is the video made by Miller and Valasek with Forbes’ Andy Greenberg:

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