Wednesday 10 August 2011

Professional hackers tap into Subaru Outback's onboard computer

Modern cars are very vulnerable to hackers as computers are used to control brakes, safety systems, throttle, entertainment systems, and more but what happens if car manufactures fail to take up 21st century protection for the cars?

Two researchers from the Black Hat annual conference of hackers and security professionals in Las Vegas showed that it was achievable to unlock and start the engine of a Subaru Outback using “war texting” sent from their Android smartphone.

For obvious reasons, the researchers refused to explain their methods until manufactures have the chance to improve their systems, but they did expose that they set up a GSM network and used the “war texting” to catch password authentication messages sent over the mobile network between a server and the car. Terrifyingly, they said that the same method could be used to control similar systems used in traffic lights, security cameras and power grids.

“I could care less if I could unlock a car door. Its cool. It’s sexy,” said Don Bailey, a senior security consultant at iSEC partners and one of the men who hacked the Subaru. “But the same system is used to control phone, power, traffic systems. I think that’s the real threat.”

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