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When buying a car, consumers look for crash ratings and the amount of airbags, but they're missing information about one critical key safety feature; the security of the car's computer network.

Security researchers Dr. Charlie Miller, a security engineer at Twitter, and Chris Valasek, Directory of Security Intelligence at IOActive, want to change that. In a talk at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week the pair presented a 92-page paper entitled 'A Survey of Remote Automotive Attack Surfaces'. They dug through the schematics of 24 different newer vehicles and found the more complex and integrated a car's network, the more hackable it became.

"The most hackable cars had the most [computerized] features and were all on the same network and could all talk to each other," Miller told Dark Readings. "The least hackable ones had [fewer] features, and [the features] were segmented, so the radio couldn't talk to the brakes."

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 was the most hackable car because of features such as remote keyless entry and a smarphone app were integrated with components that control the engine and braking, giving hackers an easy entry into the cars systems. The least hackable was the Audi A8, which does not have integrated networks and even has a security gateway to block outside commands from dubious radio sources.

Miller and Valsek also presented their findings to the Department of Transportation and the Society for Automobile Engineers hoping to bring to light the automotive industry's security oversight.

"You can grab a Consumer Reports magazine from a newsstand right now and see ratings for car safety features," Valasek told WIRED. "We're doing the same thing, but for vehicles' cybersecurity."

Last year, the pair of researchers teamed up to target to particular vehicles: a Ford Escape and Toyota Prius. They revealed how they could control throttle inputs, brakes, steering and other critical car functions, all while sitting in the rear seats. (You can see a video here). The current project is an outgrowth of the original -- they wanted to test the auto industry beyond two cars, Valasek wrote on his blog.




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  • 35 Comments
      adika3z
      • 6 Months Ago
      oh NOOO. all over the world vehicles are NOT good automakers companys. throw away now. stop put any vehicles in the commericals, onlines, magazines, signs, TVs, etc etc. not like it and not worth it. stop now.
      BACE
      • 6 Months Ago
      My car is not hackable because is old and ugly.
      pdmustgt
      • 6 Months Ago
      How will that stop hackers with standard Mustang GT go back and read it again.
      Brian Hope
      • 6 Months Ago
      The more complex and sophisticated any system or technology is, the more things there are which can go wong with it.
      hduque8843
      • 6 Months Ago
      Just like they can fly a plane on remote control, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN! A plane can not be found!
      • 6 Months Ago
      You cant hack mine. I drive a 62 VW beetle.
        HAT1701D
        • 6 Months Ago
        81 Skylark...unfortunately it does have a very early computer that tries ( I emphasize...TRIES ) to control the carb. Not to well either. Other than that one piece of early computer tech aimed at fuel efficiency....it's all simplicity.
      • 6 Months Ago
      What a waste of information. Now they are spreading information that most people don't even think of doing.
      billcdaly
      • 6 Months Ago
      But nothing will ever go wrong with driverless cars, run by computers.
        hmadden
        • 6 Months Ago
        @billcdaly
        Go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong......
        jgesselberty
        • 6 Months Ago
        @billcdaly
        The perfect response. We try to make everything "smart" from phones to cars, because the vast majority using them are so incredibly stupid.
      exp57
      • 6 Months Ago
      They can keep that network crap.
      MERLIN
      • 6 Months Ago
      electronic door locks and iginition make it easy
      • 6 Months Ago
      Considering the tag line says "guess which car is most hackable ." and shows a cadillac, I think if I was GM I would sue huffpost for slander. Just sayin'.
      Arjun Parashar
      • 6 Months Ago
      hmm. .. never thought for this kind of security feature. This is safety feature remain most of the time unconcerned while purchasing Latest Cars anywhere in the world. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. http://www.sagmart.com/category/Automobiles/Cars
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