A year ago, a pair of jeep hackers demonstrated in a video how they managed to hijack the digital systems of Chrysler Jeep Cherokee, apply its brakes at low speed and cut the transmission, just through the internet. Their stunt landed them new jobs at Uber and led Chrysler to recall 1, 4 million cars to fix the vulnerability.
Now for the anniversary of their hack, the jeep hackers, also known as cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, have decided to take it one step higher by presenting new ways to hack and control the same 2014 Jeep Cherokee they previously used without the newest security update.
The purpose of their demonstration is to allow car manufacturers and security experts to imagine an alternate reality in which they never reported their research to the car producer in order to be fixed but instead, they would have kept improving their hack, as other hackers with malicious intent might have done.
Unlike their initial attempt where they could remotely affect the car system, the latest hack requires a constant physical connection from a laptop to the jeep’s diagnostic port under the dash. With this connection, they can send carefully constructed messages on the vehicle’s internal network, which allows them an even greater control of the car’s system.
With this hack, they are able to affect the cruise control, turn on the parking brake and hijack the auto-parking system which allows them to turn the steering wheel up to 180 degrees while the car is moving at any speed. Fortunately enough, their current hack isn’t feasible in real world setting because of the required nearby constant connection.
The jeep hacker’s attack on the steering and acceleration of the car is the most likely scenario when hackers find a remote vulnerability in a car’s systems. According to them, finding another wireless hack method is only a matter of time.
This has some harrowing consequences if the automakers aren’t able to implement solid cybersecurity technology on their cars. It can be especially dangerous with the arrival of self-driving cars that an even more connected system than current cars. Fortunately, the industry doesn’t seem to take this threat lightly and it is already in collaboration with various industries to implement security protocols and develop the required technology.
Are you worried about possible car hacks?
Image source: Wikimedia