Wild Computer Hack Remotely Controls Cars

Hackers have found out how to remotely take control of your car.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek will show off their car hacks at this years DefCon 21 on Friday, August 2, in Las Vegas.

Apparently, the two have figured out how to hack into the Electronic Control Units (ECUs) — internal computers — in a Toyota Prius and Ford Escape.

They have demonstrated that they can take complete remote control of the vehicle — the breaks, the gas, the stearing wheel, even the radio and air conditioning.

And Andy Greenberg of Forbes notes that it was the Department of defence which funded the two hackers:

Miller, a 40-year-old security engineer at Twitter, and Valasek, the 31-year-old director of security intelligence at the Seattle consultancy IOActive, received an $80,000-plus grant last fall from the mad-scientist research arm of the Pentagon known as the defence Advanced Research Projects Agency to root out security vulnerabilities in automobiles.

It’s not just the Prius and the Escape either, it’s any car that has an ECU, which is every car since sometime in the mid-90s.

“There are lots of cars on the road that are vulnerable to these exploits,” Professor Peter Ludlow, an Internet culture expert and professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, told Business Insider.

Ludlow explained that even if a car’s software gets patched — a fix for vulnerable code — their software will age, another exploit will be found, and eventually another patch will be necessary.

“Even if they issue a recall, not everyone’s going to bring their car in for new software,” said Ludlow , “[some cars] will never going to get these [software] patchs.”

Possibly the time’s coming when cars need thumb drives, and companies issue patches online for software.

Watch the hackers in action:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.