Feeds

Hackers spoof car warning system

Blowout

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Computer scientists have brought new meaning to the term war driving by hacking into a moving car's wirelessly-connected warning systems and generating fake error messages.

A team from the University of South Carolina and Rutgers sent fake tire pressure messages to the onboard computer, generating bogus warning messages. Tire pressure monitoring systems have been compulsory for US vehicles since 2008. The same technology may soon become compulsory in Europe, The H Security reports.

The researchers got the transmission of fake messages to work over a range of up to 40 metres or, more impressively, between two moving vehicles in close proximity travelling at 70kph. The technology to carry out the hack only costs about $1,500 but the trick reportedly took a great deal of ingenuity to pull off. The clever bit involved spoofing wireless sensors and transmitting messages rather than bypassing security controls, which were notable by their absence, as the researchers explain:

Reverse-engineering of the underlying protocols revealed static 32 bit identifiers and that messages can be easily triggered remotely, which raises privacy concerns as vehicles can be tracked through these identifiers.

Further, current protocols do not employ authentication and vehicle implementations do not perform basic input validation, thereby allowing for remote spoofing of sensor messages. We validated this experimentally by triggering tyre pressure warning messages in a moving vehicle from a customized software radio attack platform located in a nearby vehicle.

The researchers presented their findings, which included recommendations on how to improve in-car wireless network security and privacy, in a paper presented to the 19th Usenix Security Symposium in Washington on Thursday. Screenshots of the hack in action can be found in a write-up of the attack by motoring news site Jalopnik, here.

Cars are increasingly run using multiple embedded micro-processors. This has opened up a new avenue of research for computer security scientists, but up until now demonstrated hacks have relied on obtaining a physical connection to a car's computer. The latest research shows that wireless hacks are possible, so we should be thankful that malware infections of vehicle systems have never occurred. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.