Uh-Oh! Hacker access can override driver input
Houston, we have a problem. Upgrades to our car’s electronical functions are a great thing, but like the late, great Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. What does this mean? In this case it means that with automotive technology comes hacker interference.
It seems that have we all been excited by the latest technology that will allow us to do all sorts of things in our vehicle, but we never stopped to think that if would could control things from the inside, that maybe other people could control them from the outside. Now, researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California San Diego have come to the conclusion that if a hacker had physical access to your car’s ECU then they could “"adversarially control a wide range of automotive functions and completely ignore driver input — including disabling the brakes, selectively braking individual wheels on demand, stopping the engine, and so on." Not good.
Hit the jump for the full story.
The researchers were able to determine that by connecting a computer to a car’s ODB-II port then accessing that port wirelessly from a different computer, they could operate the first’s car brakes from a completely different car! That, of course, is a huge problem and probably something we are going to be hearing about a lot. We can only imagine that if these researchers were able to discover the lack of safeguards in a car’s system, then hackers will be able to as well. That is, of course, if they haven’t done so already.
The only way to prevent such an invasion of a car’s operation is by preventing physical access to the car. Keep an eye on any random computers affixed to your vehicle or any “shady” looking person hanging around a little too closely to the vehicle. Just add that to the already long list of things to look out for when it comes to a person’s safety and the twisted mind of a criminal.