Even Your 20 Year Old Car May Be Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

As automotive technology increases, so does the risk of cyber-attacks. A new study shows that even your older model car isn’t safe.

A lot of the car hacking news has been with newer vehicles, with a wider window for connectivity. Jeep had an issue in 2015 with the Uconnect system that was integrated into the cars 2014 system.  Researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller were able to hack the Jeeps system and control everything from wipers, to the brakes. An update was soon issued to fix the vulnerability, but the existence is proof of the potentially worsening problem.

The research has shown that even cars as old as 20 years are still vulnerable to being hacked.

University of Birmingham, UK, researchers found a hackable flaw in over 100 million VWs going all the way back to 1995. Flavio Garcia and other team researchers found the issue that was in the key fob, which are more common now than back then. The findings were unveiled at the Usenix Security Conference in Austin, Tx.

The hack intercepted the code sent by the key fob, and copied it so the hackers would have it to access the vehicle. You would think even a simple sounding process like this would cost a unheard of amount of money. That is the exact opposite in this case. All that is needed is a laptop, and one piece of software, or an Arduino board and a radio receiver; costing around $40.00 after its all said and done.

Even though it doesn’t cost that much to be able to do something like this, it certainly makes up for in difficulty. A too close for comfort gap is required before you can even begin to hack. One would have to be well inside the 300 ft. range, so it’s not like you can sit in your basement and hack the surrounding key fobs. However, one hacker sitting in a parking lot for a day could do some serious damage.

Although we are just starting to hear more about this, it has always been. While the exact time frame in which the first person found this out is unknown; your 1995 and up car has always been hackable. Whether the technology surrounding us has been capable, is the question. Remember, just because the car is hackable, doesn’t mean it will be hacked. Your old beater is probably one coat hanger away from being jimmied open, but that doesn’t mean someone will.

One major question that is being brought up is whether or not total control can be taken of the car being hacked.

“It is a definite possibility,” on researcher stated. “But not likely to happen.”


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