Hackers Crash Vehicle After Taking Control Of It Via Internet

NathanVi - Author

Jul. 22 2015, Updated 11:13 a.m. ET

Recently, hackers managed to gain control of a vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, and crashed it into a ditch. The hackers did this by breaking into the vehicle’s system. However, the hackers were a pair of cybersecurity researchers and it was part of a controlled experiment, according to CNBC.

The hackers said that they were able to gain access to the vehicle’s on-board systems via s wireless Internet connection, and all they used was a mobile phone and a laptop. The two hackers, Charlie Miller (a former National Security Agency hacker) and Chris Valasek (an IOAactive researcher), used Uconnect to break into the vehicle while it was being driven on the highway.

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Uconnect is an Internet-connected computer feature, which has been installed in Fiat Chrysler vehicles since 2013. Uconnect allows owners of vehicles to start their cars remotely, as well as use an app to flash the headlights and even unlock doors. The feature allows phone calls, and it controls the vehicle’s entertainment system.

The two hackers said that the on-board Internet connection is a vulnerability for hackers. All hackers would need to do is figure out the IP address to the vehicle and if they know how to break into the system, they will be able to take control of it.

Miller and Valasek worked with a writer from Wired. The writer, Andy Greenberg, drove the vehicle on roads in St. Louis, Missouri. Greenberg described what happened when the hackers took over the vehicle, saying that the radio came on and was turned on full blast. He said that the air vents started blow out cold air. The windshield became blurred after the hackers managed to turn the wipers on with the wiper fluid. According to Daily Mail, the two hackers even managed to appear on the vehicle’s digital display, which was a sign that they had gained access.

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Greenberg said that just as he was getting on the highway, the hackers were able to slow the car to a halt, but things got much worse than that. He continued to say that the most disturbing part was when the vehicle’s brakes were cut, which caused him to go right into a ditch.

Graham Cluley, an independent security expert, said that even though researchers have only tested this out on Jeeps, hackers could make a few tweaks and hack in any Chrysler vehicle that has a vulnerable Uconnect head unit.

This hacking incident may have been controlled and planned, but the recent hacking incident involving a site that helps married couples cheat wasn’t an experiment. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, hackers got into Ashley Madison’s system. The hackers also released a portion of the 37 million members’ names from the site, and more data could be leaked.

[Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images]


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