Your Computer On Wheels and Malware

14 04 2016

Dale BertramLike any piece of software, connected cars are vulnerable to malware.  Cars’ computers are very necessary as they control everything from brakes to our “infotainment systems”.   This is a market hackers are eager to explore and exploit.

When you or any driver in Phoenix, get in your car you don’t have to log on first, you don’t have encryption or other ways to verify you are in command of your car’s computer system.  Hackers can access your vehicle a number of ways by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Internet.  Just think about it…your laptop and mobile devices are actually more securely protected at this time than your vehicle. That doesn’t make drivers feel very secure, now does it?

Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus makes it possible for a car’s ECUs (Engine Control Units…and cars can have over 100 of these, depending on the make and model) to communicate with each other.  They work hard to make sure your car is ready to go and quickly.  Last year researchers showed just how easy such an attack is by getting “inside” a Jeep Cherokee.  They disabled the brakes and controlled the steering remotely.  Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million vehicles and “patch” this loophole.

Since protecting a vehicle with a firewall is not the answer as it slows down the ECU so it can’t control safety functions quickly enough when you start your engine, a company in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Karamba Security is looking for another way.  They recently introduced anti-malware.  It will provide security by protecting the gateways to the externally connected controllers.  This anti-malware knows what should be running on these ECU’s and should a hacker introduce another “code” not on the list, the anti-malware will stop it in its tracks.

This works well with the codes supplied to Karamba from the manufacturers.  The difficultly comes, however, when a driver decides to add aftermarket devices to their vehicles.  The FBI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a warning about this very thing.  To find out more about connected cars, visit our website at   Our mission is to keep Phoenix drivers informed as we enter this new arena!


Fairway Auto Repair




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