Researchers hack into moving car's security system

Posted by Mark Raby

A team of university researchers has shown that it is possible to infiltrate a car's computer system while it is moving at highway speeds, proving the security risks of having computer-controlled vehicles.

Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina jointly participated in the study which looked at the vulnerabilities of wireless tire pressure sensors that have become an industry standard.

They were able to spoof the sensors and send customized, hacked warning messages to the car's dashboard. They were able to do this from another car that was 40 meters away at going 68 miles per hour.

Additionally, once the team found out how to break into the wireless signals, they could track a number of cars individually. They reportedly used equipment valued at a total of around $1,500 to perform the hack successfully.

The hack did not allow the researchers to remotely gain access over the car's controls or engine or anything like that. But it is a bit unnerving to think that someone with some spare time could bring false panic to drivers on the highway.

The advent of computer systems into cars has brought up a number of security concerns, but for the most part everyone who gets behind the wheel is safe. The number of security measures is so extreme that it's nearly impossible for anyone to jeopardize any of the crucial components of a car without having direct, physical access to the embedded technology.

That is, unless you have a crazy employee at the place where you bought your car, like earlier this year when a Texas auto sales worker remotely activated hundreds of car alarms of models that were sold from his employer's lot.

Photo credit: Jalopnik.com