Hack of connected car raises alarm over driver safety

22 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Almost Half A Million Chrysler Cars Can Be Hacked From Miles Away.

SAN FRANCISCO — Don’t send your old clunker of a retro-mobile to the automotive junk yard just yet. In an article posted Tuesday, Miller and Valasek demonstrate that they can take over the computer in the car of Wired reporter Andy Greenberg, as Greenberg drove on Interstate 64 in St.One driver had to do just that after hackers managed to remotely commandeer the controls of his Jeep Cherokee, activating windshield wipers and blasting the radio—even going as far as turning off the car’s engine in the middle of a highway, according to a report from Wired. “The most disturbing maneuver came when they cut the Jeep’s brakes, leaving me frantically pumping the pedal as the 2-ton SUV slid uncontrollably into a ditch,” the Wired report read.

While this may sound like a statement of the future, there are more than 471,00 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) currently at risk for remote hacking — meaning, someone could monitor and gain control of a vehicle from afar.The virtual backseat drivers can slip in through a vehicle’s smartphone-friendly entertainment system and wreak havoc on other computer-controlled operations — basically everything in modern automobiles.Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek conducted an experiment earlier this month that ended up with a Jeep in a ditch, although the driver didn’t drive it there.Two security researchers have found a vulnerability in Chrysler cars that allows them to hack into them from miles away, allowing them to control a variety of the car’s controls including shutting off the brakes, Wired reports. The car manufacturer, which includes brands such as Dodge, Jeep, RAM, Fiat, Chrysler and Maserati, has quietly released a security patch for cars equipped with its Uconnect infotainment system, which is subject to a major vulnerability.

The author explains: “Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. “Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station … A statement noted that the company “monitors and tests the information systems of all of its products to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities in the ordinary course of business.” The story comes to light on the same day Massachusetts Sen. Uconnect which is in hundreds of thousands of Fiat Chrysler cars is designed for the user to control their entertainment system, offers a Wi-Fi hotspot, and is used to make phone calls through. Ed Markey introduced new legislation calling for the FTC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to secure the safety of cars on the road. “Drivers shouldn’t have to choose between being connected and being protected,” Markey said, in a statement. “We need clear rules of the road that protect cars from hackers and American families from data trackers.”

After gaining access through Uconnect, the hackers were able to rewrite the firmware in a chip in the car’s head unit that controls physical components such as the engine, around 471,000 vehicles have vulnerable Uconnect systems Miller estimates. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) plan to introduce a bill that would address the problem with new security standards for automakers. “If consumers don’t realize this is an issue, they should, and they should start complaining to car companies,” Miller told Wired. “This might be the kind of software bug most likely to kill someone.” The Internet capability is particularly susceptible; if a hacker is able to identify the IP address of the car, then, “From an attacker’s perspective, it’s a super nice vulnerability,” said Miller to Wired.

But the experiment highlights a concern that often isn’t addressed head-on in the growing excitement over the prospect of roads dominated by either autonomous or heavily driver-assisted vehicles. If the frequent attacks on myriad retail and financial institutions tell us anything, it’s that there isn’t a digitally connected network that is completely safe from hackers. And while it’s one thing to have to change credit cards due to a breach, it’s another to be trapped in a speeding hunk of metal when the crippling intrusion happens.

The update, though, must installed physically through a USB or an automotive dealer, which leads to many believe that thousands of cars will remain vulnerable. This hack exposes an underlying problem with automakers developing more advanced infotainment: Automakers are good at making cars — developing technology, less so.

The experiment had ceased to be fun.” Chrysler posted a notice on its website informing customers of a “Software Update to Improve Vehicle Electronic Security,” saying that a car, like a phone or computer, needs software updates to ensure security. Interestingly, it would put the government in control of preventing the hacking, even though the government was recently hacked as well. (RELATED: The True Impact Of The Chinese OPM Hack Is Only Just Now Being Realized) The hijacking duo has only tested the system-control software so far on Jeep Cherokees and has found that it works on models from late 2013 through early 2015.

The idea is to offer consumers easy access to their favorite apps and services while driving, but the feature it turn opens the digital doors to hackers seeking access to the automobile’s controls. That collaboration led to a July 16 memo to owners from Chrysler noting that a patch was available to help protect the vehicles from attack; it has to be downloaded via a USB stick or by a dealer. One immediate fix involves automakers thinking more like software makers: offer over-the-air updates to operating systems in response to vulnerabilities.

After quoting an Internet of Things security expert saying that he hopes automakers will become enlightened to the security threats facing connected cars “in the next three to five years,” writer Greenberg offers a literary shudder. “As I drove the Jeep back toward Miller’s house from downtown St.

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