Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cars are hackable, too.

Originally published 3/16/11 on lubbockonline.com/glasshouses

Technology review reports that Tadayoshi Kono, Stefan Savage and a team of researchers are able to take control of cars computer systems remotely using smart phones. Well, as remote as a bluetooth signal will allow. It is important to note that the car they used was a mass production 2009 model. That means that it was one of the less computerized cars available. Of course, any car without bluetooth is safe from these attacks.
But in a car with bluethooth, not only was it possible to take control of the car using bluetooth, it was possible through several different attack vectors and with phones that weren't paired to the car. Once they had control they could take complete control of the cars computer systems. That means they could do everything from activating the GPS (how did you think Onstar tells 911 where you are) to disabling the brakes. With total control of the computer they could start or stop the engine, control the air and heat, and control the door locks, to name a few things. No one thinks these attacks are out in the wild, but it's past time for auto manufacturers to start including security in their computing software and hardware.