Now how do you suppose THAT got in there?

I’m in the process of looking for a new truck.

No, not something with 14 more wheels than most people are used to driving.

Just something for me to use personally. Impromptu moving vehicle. Grocery-getter. Off-road. Maybe taking on a side job or two plowing. Towing friends cars out of ditches. That sort of thing.

So, like anyone else who is in the market, I like to keep an eye on what to watch out for while walking around the dealer lot.

Then something I was reading caught my attention.

Yes, I am going somewhere with this.

{More below the fold}

What caught my attention didn’t exactly come from things like AutoWeek or a trade publication like that.

Try “Wired” magazine.

They did a piece about a week ago where someone took control of a moving Jeep Cherokee in a “controlled” experiment when they were able to remotely manage some of the vehicles secondary controls (i.e. radio, AC, wiper control).

Okay, I thought. Ha-ha funny stuff.

The “controlled” experiment made a darker turn when they were able to make the transmission on that same moving Jeep remotely go into neutral.

The Jeep rolled to a stop and the driver was only able to regain control after shutting off the vehicle and then restarting it.

The disturbing part here is that is not all they can do with the vehicle.

The means exist for them to remotely derate the engine, remotely kill the engine, remotely apply the brakes and remotely kill the brakes.

Oh yeah, did I mention that they can even remotely control the steering as well?

To be fair, this hack isn’t limited to only Jeep. Others have also been able to similarly replicate this little “feature” on other makes (which they have withheld from the public) to do things like remotely unlock the doors and control the seat belt mechanism.

Now, I know that manufacturers have been able to do this with without physically having someone sitting behind the wheel for years now. Techs do this when they are diagnosing problems with vehicles brought in for service.

The only difference between then and now is that those techs needed to physically plug a computer into a port in order take control.

With a generous helping of egg on their collective faces, FCA issues a statement to The Detroit News last Tuesday which read in part,

“Under no circumstances does FCA condone or believe it’s appropriate to disclose ‘how-to information’ that would potentially encourage, or help enable hackers to gain unauthorized and unlawful access (emphasis mine) to vehicle systems.”

Now, one of the things that I’ve picked up over time is that PR people are very particular about what they issue to the media relating to an issue. They use their words carefully.

Okay, maybe not some democrats, but hopefully you get my drift.

Why did FCA specifically mention “unlawful” access to vehicle systems?

Does that mean instead of voiding my warranty, I can go to Leavenworth if I use my tablet to run a diagnostic scan on my own or even someone else’s vehicle?

Or is there more to the story?

Christine Movie Poster1

And no, I don;t think that this is it.

You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)

  1 comment for “Now how do you suppose THAT got in there?

  1. 10x25mm
    July 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The manufacturers declaring copyright on automotive software is the big economic story here. Forces car buyers to go to dealerships for repairs. Likely to prevent any private repairs after OBD III or IV (On Board Diagnostics) are adopted. OBD III is going through major upgrades right now which are connected to this. OBD code readers will have to be licensed and those licenses will be restricted to dealerships. You cannot fix what you cannot find. Devious. Just like gun control, it won't stop malfactors.

    The scariest story of this kind was the guy taking over control of a Boeing 737 engine from the airplane's entertainment system:

    http://blog.avira.com/hacker-hacked-airplanes-engine-control/

    This will be a disaster in the future. Somewhere in a cave on the Afghanistan - Pakistan border some adherent of the religion of peace is working on this. Bet money on it.

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)

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