How DARPA Can Hack Your Car

Prius Hack

As cars become even more technologically advanced and interconnected, it is only a matter of time before a hacker finds a way to carjack your ride. A car like a Toyota Prius has dozens of computers, and if the right coder is given access to them, it can wreak havoc on your hybrid.

In fact, any late model car may be vulnerable to such attacks. Forbes looked into this issue, calling upon Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller. Chris the director of security intelligence for IOActive, and Charlie is a security engineer for Twitter, but they also work with DARPA- the Department of Defense’s research wing.

When Andy Greenberg from Forbes arrived, the duo had already removed the dash of a Prius and Ford Escape, and tapped into the system. Now connected, they had access to any number of systems, as you can see in the video below:

The coders could forge status updates, like fuel levels and vehicle speed, and could also trick the pre-collision system and over-tighten the self-tensioning seatbelts. Even more dangerous, these tech gurus could alter the steering of the vehicle, likely making the Forbes reporter very nervous. And that was before they hacked the car so that the brakes wouldn’t engage.

So what is the lesson here? Don’t pick up a hitchhiker with a laptop? Well, as cars become wirelessly interconnected in preparation of semi-autonomous driving functions in the decades to come, that wireless accessibility could be a port of entry for a hacker looking to ruin your daily commute.

« Return to Blog Home