"Can Your Car Be Hacked?", "Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks", "New Targets for Hackers, Your Car and Your House", "Researchers reveal methods behind car hack", "Car hackers use laptop to control standard car", "Car hacking code released at Defcon". The listed above are just few of the articles regarding car hacking published in the last month alone!
Due to the proliferation of on-board computers, vehicle connectivity, smart infotainment systems and telematics devices, car hacking is becoming an eminent threat to car owners.
Components of our modern vehicles are constantly communicating between themselves: your gearbox gets RPM reading from the engine and speed data from the wheels and shifts gears accordingly. For the sake of simplicity, carmakers are using a very basic message based architecture named CAN bus. Interoperability and mixed fleets required harmonized data transmission systems, so the manufacturers developed few protocols that enable such connectivity.
As most modern vehicles are now also equipped with cellular connectivity to allow navigation, browsing, video and audio streaming and transmission of car status & location.
This high-tech cocktail creates a real fear to car owners, since the same system compromises the safety of the vehicle. As hackers with some automotive knowledge can intercept the car computers via the telematics and even alter its parameters: report lower speed and demand more torque, disabling breaks and changing engine revs.
In the recent automotive shows we noticed the creation of a new field called Car Cyber Security.
One of the leading firms in this segment is Arilou Technologies. The Company developed a small CANbus based firewall that also authenticates the legality of the on-board devices and the incoming messages. Several automakers are examining Arilou's solutions.