We have seen it in movies where hackers are able to exploit vulnerabilities in motor vehicles and take control of them. Increasingly, vehicle manufacturers are finding themselves facing difficulty with car software. Luxury vehicle manufacturers such as Land Rover, have especially faced shortcomings with key less ignition systems as well as locking technology making their vehicles susceptible to vandalism attributable to software bugs. Others like Tesla, have over time released over-the-air updates to their vehicles aimed at protecting owners from possible exploitation of software bugs by hackers.
Two US researchers are now reporting that it is easy to hack into a vehicle by through the vehicle’s infotainment system. To carry out the attacks, one needs to send data via the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio signals. This is of course possible in connected cars, and using the internet the hackers can turn off a car’s engine even when its being driven.
The two researchers were able to take control of a vehicle being driven by a Wired.com reporter. They used a feature in the Jeep Cherokee’s telematics system called Uconnect by sending data to the car’s internet-connected entertainment and navigation system through a mobile phone network. During the experiment, the Jeep’s radio was turned on, with other inessential features of the vehicles also turned on. The two, then rewrote the code embedded in the car’s infotainment system hardware, and then went on to issue commands for steering, braking and engine control. They were also able to control the car’s air conditioning , radio and windscreen wipers. Jeep has since released a software update to deal with the vulnerabilities.
Well, this is pretty scary as vehicles continually move towards connected, especially with the advent of internet of things. I suppose Blackberry can make a killing with QNX systems, which they continually market as ultra-secure.