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Taking Over a Car


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Car hack

Karl Koscher, Alexei Czeskis, and Franzi Roesner

Cars are becoming more computerized, an evolution that could have an unintended side effect: vulnerability to attacks. Researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, led by Tadayoshi Kohno and Stefan Savage, recently showed that by taking over a car's computers, they could disable the brakes, stop the engine, and control the door locks.

For now, most of the attacks require access to a port inside the car. But wreaking havoc could get easier as carmakers add more wireless connectivity. The researchers hope their work will motivate manufacturers to add security features.

A typical luxury sedan contains 50 to 100 computers controlled by over 100 megabytes of code. Most of these computers communicate over a shared internal network. These systems have surprising interconnections that attackers could exploit, the researchers say. For example, in many cars, the door locking system and the crash detection system are linked.

That means an attacker who takes over the locks may get access to key internal systems.

From Technology Review
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