More and more cars are equipped with an Internet connection as car manufacturers prepare for the era of connected vehicles. These will be able to receive software updates, communicate with other cars and the surrounding infrastructure and, ideally, make driving safer. But an Internet connection poses security risks, and it’s a real danger to cars. Mercedes announced last year that it had fixed 19 safety risks in its vehicles, and a new report details them.
According to TechCrunch, the outage came from Minrui Yan, leader of Sky-Go’s security research team, at this year’s Black Hat security conference. The team discovered 19 vulnerabilities in a Mercedes E-Class that gave researchers extensive control over the vehicle. The researchers, forming a chain of attack to exploit security risks, have unlocked the possibility of tampering with the vehicle’s TCU, the telematics control unit. The team could carry out vehicle controls, including opening the doors and starting the engine.
Save thousands on a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class
MSRP $ 54,495
MSRP $ 54,495
Save on average over $ 3,400 off MSRP * with
Motor1.com car buying service
While this type of access can have devastating consequences in the wrong hands, it has not been easy for Sky-Go to penetrate the safety of the car. It took them over a year of research before they could take control of the vehicle, which required the team to demolish the vehicle’s built-in SIM card. However, according to TechCrunch, the researchers said the car featured enhanced security that withstood multiple attacks.
However, nothing connected to the Internet is immune to vulnerabilities. This month, a teenager was able to take control of high profile Twitter accounts. Your local criminal is unlikely to compile a year of research to hack a car, but criminal organizations or governments can. As automakers pile more software and technology into vehicles, connecting them to the internet, the data they collect and the vehicle systems they control become valuable. There will be people who will seek to exploit that. But it already seems that hacking a car is a pain.