Hand-Sized Device Can Hack Cars Remotely, Researchers Call for Greater Security
February 6, 2014 11:50 AM
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The device will be presented at the Black Hat Asia security conference in Singapore next month
A team of Spanish security researchers is out to
beef up auto security
by showing its ability to hack a car with a device the size of your hand.
, security researchers Javier Vazquez-Vidal and Alberto Garcia Illera plan to show a new device they've built at the Black Hat Asia security conference in Singapore next month -- and they're hoping it will be a wake-up call for the auto industry.
The device is called the CAN Hacking Tool (CHT) and it attaches via four wires to the Controller Area Network or CAN bus of a vehicle. It draws power from the car’s electrical system and allows an attacker to send wireless commands remotely from a computer.
The researchers say it's as easy as lifting the hood real quick or simply sliding under the car to attach the device to a vehicle and walk away.
From there, the attacker could switch off headlights, set off alarms, roll windows up and down, and access anti-lock brakes or emergency brakes. The researchers have already tested it on four different vehicles, although they won't reveal which makes and models.
CHT [SOURCE: Forbes]
For right now, the device only works using Bluetooth, which means it can be controlled from just a few feet away. But the research team said that by the time the conference rolls around next year, it will implement a GSM cellular radio, which will allow remote control of the vehicle from a few miles away.
“It can take five minutes or less to hook it up and then walk away,” said Vazquez-Vidal. “We could wait one minute or one year, and then trigger it to do whatever we have programmed it to do.”
What makes matters worse is that the items needed to build the device can all easily be bought from store shelves, and costs under $20 total.
Also, it's nearly impossible to trace the attacker, according to the researchers.
The team said they built the device to show automakers what attackers are capable of, and to call for greater security in cars, which are becoming increasingly connected and more vulnerable to hacks.
“The goal isn’t to release our hacking tool to the public and say ‘take this and start hacking cars,’” says Vazquez-Vidal. “We want to reach the manufacturers and show them what can be done.”
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RE: Somewhat agree with premise
2/6/2014 3:24:18 PM
I think the more annoying and irksome thing is that the manufacturers and the people that put "smart" tech into cars are fully aware of its potential to be misused/exploited. But no one seems to care. The public have been told what is cool an what they want, and if you don't have the latest in super automated bullshit in a car...well, you may as well be living in a third world country, scratching a living off of a barren landscape, with poverty and disease all around you.
I'm sorry, but the burden of some things should not be unloaded from real human people. Like the responsibility that comes with owning and operating a motor vehicle. With all these electronic gizmos, it is all to easy to have software malfunctions.
Call me crazy, but I do not want a software malfunction in my car. Yes, I realize that there is already tons of computer controlled systems in most modern cars today. But the idea that we should just keep cramming things that can be exploited so easily worries me. Just like that article a few days ago about law enforcement being able to activate a remote kill switch in a vehicle.
Whatever though...shit is not going to get better, only worse. It's kind of like Pandora's box that way.
I can already see all the people trying to get out of traffic tickets, and liability for accidents.
"Yeah officer, it seems my car was hacked, and they ran me right into that other vehicle."
Who is at fault then?
Like I said, the burden of responsibility of operating a motor vehicle should, in my opinion, stay as much in the hands of the driver as possible.
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