Car hackers mess with speedos, odometers, alarms and locks: When Sumers and Zulauf began their research, they did not let the lack of computer documentation, the exorbitant costs of proprietary computer analysis kits or tight-lipped mechanics stop them.
Speaking at the Breakpoint security conference in Melbourne, the researchers from automtive startups Automatic and Motiv Power Systems told how together with Chris Hoder of Microsoft the trio set off to discover how the digital bits flew around Controller Area Networks (CANs) embedded into many cars in use today.
With physical access to the cars the men were able to make vehicles appear to drive slower than actual speed, manipulate brakes, alarms and unlock doors. They could also increase a car’s odometer and with further research wind it back.
Other researchers have accessed car networks via bluetooth and developed ways to compromise autos through firmware.