Samy Kamkar

Car Hacking Hits BMW and Mercedes-Benz

Hacking into car systems has been part of researching vehicles this Summer.  With so many cars offering only minor security from the different computerized systems in a car digital security researcher Samy Kamkar has developed many ways to hack into different car systems and take over control of several systems.  Thankfully, Kamkar is on the side of automakers to develop the necessary securities to make these systems less vulnerable; hopefully discovering the portals to which a system can be hacked before the hackers who are out to cause harm and eventual fatalities get to work on the different ways to hack into cars.

This latest hack by Kamkar showed that he can remotely control the functions in BMW, Mercedes- Benz, Chrysler and the aftermarket Viper connected car systems by using the same hack he used to remotely access OnStar equipped vehicles.  This hack allows a hacker to use a smartphone to access the locking mechanism of these cars, the BMW Remote, Mercedes- Benz mbrace, Chrysler Uconnect and the Viper Smartstart which gives access to the login information and take over in a way that will turn your profile into the one used by the hacker, which gives a varied level of control to the vehicle and systems being hacked.

Using a small black box that is placed on the target vehicle the box intercepts the signal of the car systems and allows a hacker to do everything a car owner can do through a built- in cellular connection.  This makes it easy to plant a virus, control different systems and really give a driver a bad day.  So far it doesn’t appear the car can be driven remotely, the proximity key needs to be in place to drive the car, but once the car is on there is not telling what a hacker could do to actually control the vehicle and how easily they would be able to cause a fatal crash.

In order to close this vulnerability Kamkar has instructed automakers to perform an update to their iOS apps in order to make sure the vehicles would be able to stay secure.  This update will close what has been found to be another gap in the security of current car systems, which would provide a greater level of overall security to the cars and the owners.  Kamkar went as far as to say he will not release all the information until the vulnerabilities have been addressed and the gaps closed.

It’s a good thing the auto industry has guys like Kamkar to help them identify security issues.  So far it appears car companies are staying ahead of the hackers with the help of these professionals that can hack in and show what needs to be done to close the gaps.  As each hack is discovered and closed we get closer to that day when we can feel fully secure with the systems used and have the ability to drive autonomous vehicles that will take care of our commute for us.

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