San Francisco Examiner | Dolan: Vehicles vulnerable to remote manipulation


In response to a question regarding the ability for today's modern cars to be hacked and taken over, the San Francisco Examiner reviews current news, trends, and protections available, including Mission Secure's innovative approach to securing vehicles.

Q: “I have been reading about the vulnerability of today’s modern cars. Is it true that they can be hacked and taken over? If they are taken over and a crash happens, who is responsible?”

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On July 21, an experiment was conducted by a team of systems vulnerability and security analysts from a company called IOActive, which, over the last five years through a series of Department of Defense grants, has conducted research on the ability to gain remote control over a vehicle’s computerized control systems.

While a new Jeep Cherokee was driven by Andy Dreenberg, an author for Wired Magazine, at 70 mph on a highway though St. Louis, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek from IOActive began turning on and off the air conditioner, manipulating the radio and the windshield wipers. All of this was done without them altering any of the vehicle’s hardware or having any hardware link installed on the car.

Miller and Valasek then upped the ante and completely disengaged the transmission causing a complete power failure. Dreenberg lost all ability to control the vehicle’s speed on a highway as an 18-wheeler came fast upon it. If that were not enough, Miller and Valasek made their likenesses appear on the vehicles navigation and control screen. Miller and Valasek were 10 miles away when they assumed all control.

This experiment is not isolated. Mission Secure Inc., a cyber-defense solutions provider, and Perrone Robotics Inc., a software developer for autonomous vehicles, working with the University of Virginia and the Department of Defense, also took over control of a vehicle. Then they demonstrated a prototype of a security system, called “Secure Sentinel,” which can sense a security threat to vehicles automated systems and engage a counter measure “faster than a human could.”

 

Check out the full article on the San Francisco Examiner!