Who’s hiding in your car?

Is it possible for hackers to hack your car?

Hackers taking control of your vehicle sounds like science fiction, however cars have become more sophisticated.

The amount of software and computer systems inside has grown massively in the last ten years. Any one of these systems could have vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to take control.

A serious threat

In July last year Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles after security researchers hacked the software used for the in car entertainment system and were able to remotely apply and disable the braking systems.

Many cars have an OBD-II port which is used to provide access to the vehicle’s internal network. This port has been shown to be vulnerable to serval types of attacks that allow hackers to send commands to the vehicle. However, to take advantage of this vulnerability the hacker would need access to the vehicle.

Physical access may not be a problem though as it is estimated that as many as 100 million vehicles keys are vulnerable to a hack that targets the keyless locking mechanism to unlock the car.

A device call RollJam can be easily brought online for £20-£30 that allows you to unlock any of the cars that are vulnerable.

Another car software system that has been in the news recently is Mirrorlink which allows a mobile phone to be paired with a vehicle. A vulnerability has been found that allows the paired phone to send commands to the car and it could be used to access core systems within the vehicle such as the ABS. For this hack all the hacker need to do is infect your phone (which could have already happened) and then you connect it to your car entertainment system, the hacker has now got full control of the vehicle electronic systems.

What’s next?

Car manufactures are finally beginning to take security on their systems seriously and implementing steps like encryption. However, Hackers are always one step ahead and as the system grows more complex, they get more and more chances to hack your car’s systems. It likely that will we start to see ransomware style attacks holding cars hostage in the  future. where you will have to pay the hacker to be able to use your vehicle again.

Self-driving cars are going be even more vulnerable due the large amount of sensors providing hackers a large area for attack.

This means the hackers could quite literally be taking you for a ride!

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