First Time a Vehicle is Remotely Hacked

WIRED magazine published a story yesterday about the world’s first documented wireless attack of a vehicle. A pair of security researchers put a journalist behind the wheel of a Jeep Cherokee and took control of it while he was driving miles away.

Read my synopsis on Autonet, here’s the original WIRED story by Andy Greenberg, and below are the key things to know.

This security update does NOT affect Canadian vehicles

I contacted Chrysler, and got this quote for Autonet:

“An FCA representative in Canada tells Autonet, “Due to market access to cellular connectivity in the Canadian marketplace, FCA Canada vehicles are not affected by this condition and therefore do not require a system upgrade.”

It does however, affect American vehicles, specifically American mid-2013 to 2015 Fiat-Chrysler vehicles that are equipped with the Uconnect infotainment system.

WIRED estimates about 417,000 are affected. Download the security update from FCA here, or take it to a dealership mechanic.

What happened to the car?

Radio, A/C and wipers were all turned on high, and Andy spun the control dials with zero affect. They altered the dashboard screen image.

They cut the transmission, and an 18-wheeler came barrelling up behind him, then they disengaged the brakes and sent Andy into a ditch.

They turned the SUV into a surveillance tool, tracking its GPS coordinates and tracing it on a map.

How was the car attacked?

The pair gain wireless control of the Cherokee via the vehicle’s Uconnect infotainment system which is connected to the Sprint network.

They enter the car through its cellular connection, then move to an adjacent chip in the head unit and rewrite the chip’s firmware to include their malicious code. Now they’re able to send commands through the car’s computer network – CAN bus – and control physical components like the brakes and transmission.

What’s next?

The pair will present their findings at the upcoming Black Hat online security conference in Vegas, as well as share their code. A key vulnerability will be omitted, but the code to do the dashboard tricks will hit the internet.

Why? They say 2 reasons: for peer review, and it “sends a message: automakers need to be held accountable for their vehicles’ digital security.”

Overall Takeaway

What Charlie said:

“We shut down your engine—a big rig was honking up on you because of something we did on our couch,” Miller says, as if I needed the reminder. “This is what everyone who thinks about car security has worried about for years. This is a reality.”

Related Blog Links

– I’d like to know if they can access the driver’s contacts? I don’t pair my phone to a car

– you’ve met this pair of security researchers – Charlier Miller briefly at Sector, and Chris Valasek for my column, and a press piece for Sector 2014

– sign I Am the Cavalry’s petition to the automakers, I did

about the OBDII port

– there are over 100 computers in your car

– one of which is the black box – an EDR

blog tag = auto security  – newspaper tag = auto security

– I was recently in Utah with Jeep, off-roading a Cherokee, Trailhawk trim. They hacked a fun SUV.



These Passwords seem Pointless

Spotted in an American airport.

So very predictable.

Why go to all the trouble and cost to print this – on good card stock at that – but why not add a little effort and create proper logins & passwords?  And print only monthly? I wouldn’t connect to this network.

Remember, airport WiFi is the most dangerous network in the world.

Airport WiFi looks like this – here

It’s the most dangerous network in the world – here

Which is why I don’t use it – here