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It's possible to hack a vehicle using an OBD connection and an insurance dongle

By Bryan Chan & Kenny Yeo - on 13 Aug 2015, 10:21am

It's possible to hack a vehicle using an OBD connection and an insurance dongle


Cars today are becoming increasingly connected and that could pose a real security risk. In a recent demonstration by researchers at the University of California in San Diego, they showed how it was possible to remotely hack a 2013 Chevrolet Covette using an insurance dongle.

The insurance dongle is question is often provided by motor insurance companies to monitor speed and location, and it plugs into your car's OBD (on-board diagnostics) port. These dongles can also be used by companies to track and monitor their fleets. The OBD port grants access to the car's various vehicle subsystems.

In the video above, by sending SMS messages to the dongle, the researchers were able to activate the wipers and, perhaps most worryingly, activate and even deactivate the brakes.

Even more worrying is the fact that this hack does not apply only to the Corvette or models from Chevrolet. According to the researchers, this could potentially work on all modern vehicles and the hack could be further improved to grant access to other functions including locks, steering and more.

Fortunately, the researchers have already alerted relevant parties about this vulnerability in June and security updates have already been pushed out to the affected dongles.

Just weeks ago, Chrysler had to recall over 1.4 million vehicles following reports that hackers could remotely control their cars through its Internet-connected entertainment system. And it begs the question if car manufacturers are really ready to take their cars online, where all kinds of security risks are abound.

Source: Wired