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Transportation Security

Car Hacking is 'Distressingly Easy' 165

Bruce66423 points out a piece from the Economist trying to rally support for pressuring legislators and auto manufacturers to step up security efforts on modern, computer-controlled cars. They say, Taking control remotely of modern cars, for instance, has become distressingly easy for hackers, given the proliferation of wireless-connected processors now used to run everything from keyless entry and engine ignition to brakes, steering, tyre pressure, throttle setting, transmission and anti-collision systems. Today's vehicles have anything from 20 to 100 electronic control units (ECUs) managing their various electro-mechanical systems. ... The problem confronting carmakers everywhere is that, as they add ever more ECUs to their vehicles, to provide more features and convenience for motorists, they unwittingly expand the "attack surface" of their on-board systems. In security terms, this attack surface—the exposure a system presents in terms of its reachable and exploitable vulnerabilities—determines the ease, or otherwise, with which hackers can take control of a system. ... There is no such thing as absolute security. [E]ven firms like Microsoft and Google have been unable to make a web browser that cannot go a few months without needing some critical security patch. Cars are no different.
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Car Hacking is 'Distressingly Easy'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, please fix all the easy bugs. But that does not mean *all* the security bugs have not been fixed. Get rid of excessive software in cars. We don't need wi-fi, remote unlocking or push-button start or any of that other unnecessary nonsense.

    • by ArcherB ( 796902 )

      We don't need wi-fi, remote unlocking or push-button start or any of that other unnecessary nonsense.

      There's nothing wrong with these features. The problem is when you can reach the brake system from the bluetooth in the radio. There is no reason why these systems could not be separated, even air gapped.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        We don't need wi-fi, remote unlocking or push-button start or any of that other unnecessary nonsense.

        There's nothing wrong with these features. The problem is when you can reach the brake system from the bluetooth in the radio. There is no reason why these systems could not be separated, even air gapped.

        I agree with your principle, but you cant have remote start without having the remote system attached to the ignition system.

        However the auto industry has always taken a very lax attitude to safety until lawmakers forced them to pay attention. Seatbelts weren't in most cars before laws forced them to be, same with immobilisers and OBDII connectors (technically not a safety issue, but OBDII standardisation is one of the best things that lawmakers have done for car owners). I expect the same story to unfol

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's what I do, I have a 1998 car which I intend to keep for the rest of my life.
    It still has some electronics (ECU, ABS), but nothing upgradable without going under the bonnet and actually removing the computers to reprogram them. And obviously nothing wireless (well, the radio, but it's strictly one way and independent from the rest of the car).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That's what I do, I have a 1998 car which I intend to keep for the rest of my life. It still has some electronics (ECU, ABS)...

      And those electronics are probably going to be one of the biggest issues with keeping that car going. Most mechanical parts can be repaired, be made, or sourced from junk yards.A lot of classic cars also have other companies making replacement parts. For example, you can build a brand new replica of a 1963 Corvette if you would want to as every part for them is in reproduction by one company or a company.

      There has been a bit of concern regarding the electronics in cars that have been made in the last 20-30

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        And those electronics are probably going to be one of the biggest issues with keeping that car going.

        Depends on the car. People are still making replacement electronics for enthusiast models like 80's and 90's Skylines and Supras. I can still find an aftermarket ABS unit for an S13. Hell, it's not hard to find an original ABS controller for a R32 Skyline still in its original packaging (car manufacturers have to stock 10 years worth of parts when they discontinue a mode, often they stock more than that).

    • I have a 1982 car - while it has electronics (it even has electronic ignition), it does not have software. The radio is a completely separate unit and only connected to the power of the rest of the car.

      The car is modified to run on LPG and since LPG is 37.5% the price of gasoline, the car gets "money efficiency" (euros/100km) comparable to much newer gasoline cars.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @07:37AM (#49976385)

    Rust, Swift, Sappeur, Vala - they must also be used in the car industry. Instead of C. Look at the CVE database - 50% of exploits are solely due to the cowboy style of C (lack of memory safety).

    Or just roll over and concede that electronics are too dangerous.

    • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @07:42AM (#49976417)

      ...

      Your solution to the problem is to try to kill the problem of bad developers by hiding it with the language.

      Could you name one example of where that has actually worked, EVER?

      When you write your 3 lines of Swift (lets limit it to languages real people outside of one company actually use), there are possibly a million lines of C could doing the actual work.

      You do real work in C. You ride on someone else C code in pretty much every other modern language. Switching them from C to any other language won't solve the problem, the problem is using people who don't think things through. Thats not a language problem is a person problem.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Could you name one example of where that has actually worked, EVER?

        Isn't this basically what Ada was developed to do? And while it is sort of a niche language that no hipster would touch with a ten foot pole, it is often used for some critical systems, no?

        • So what. C is also used for many critical systems. What is your point? Did Ada succeeded? It seems not since it is not much more widely use than it is after many years in the market. But, anyway, the original assumption is not about the language, it is all about the "cowboy style". This is a false discussion.

          I am not neither sure the cowboy style argument itself hold waters. Anyone has numbers to compare the security breach in the automotive industry due to bad programming practices vs the rest of the world

        • by mlts ( 1038732 )

          Ada has a very good reputation for security. I know of a few websites that use Ada for the backend. Not as easy as the web language of the month... but tend to be decently bug resistant, and from what I've seen, haven't had any real security issues.

          I do wish for a resurgence in Ada's use. Security depends on the programmer mainly (regardless of language), but there are better tools to do it right in Ada than most other languages. This doesn't mean it is a one size fits all language... but for code that

          • I do wish for a resurgence in Ada's use.

            As do I.

            Security depends on the programmer mainly (regardless of language), but there are better tools to do it right in Ada than most other languages. This doesn't mean it is a one size fits all language... but for code that is critical to security, it might be wise to use a language designed with security from the ground up. Spark Ada has provable security, for example (as per "SPARK - A Safety Related Ada Subset")

            Hear, hear. I have no doubt that such a world would be trading one set of problems for another, however, I do believe that the second set of problems would be much smaller than the first.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )

        Your solution to the problem is to try to kill the problem of bad developers by hiding it with the language.

        It has nothing to do with "bad programmers". A programmer in one language can be expected to make the same number of errors in their code as a programmer in another. And they can be expected to have a similar spread of competence in their chosen language. It's about how many of those errors make it into the final product, the effort required to test / find / fix them, and the dangers (e.g. to safety, security) if they reach the final product.

        C++ suffers from a whole class of problems that are minimal or e

    • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @07:53AM (#49976481) Journal

      Five letters generally prevent most of the software *coding* issues found in critical automotive software: MISRA.

      Failures that happen in automotive software are almost never coding issues, but rather design issues. For instance, even the "infamous" Toyota brake control issues were due to design, not faulty coding.

      Switching languages is actually more likely to introduce more errors than reduce them, since you've now likely added coding errors on top of the design issues.

      (And I second the other poster mentioning things like compile-time allocation of all objects. I have never seen a dynamically-allocated anything in any of the embedded programs on which I've worked in the main code stream; closest we came was in a data logger which wrote to a dedicated area of flash, on a separate chip even from the main micro.)

  • When I see real reports, rather than scaremongering, I'll pay attention.

    The vulns may be real, but most require physical access to the vehicle.

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @08:12AM (#49976593) Homepage

      There have been public demonstrations, some televised, of certain models of modern car that allow you to change things like timings and injection sequences, via OBD, over Blueooth, using default passcodes.

      I'm sure they're all patched now. Of course. No more will that ever happen again.

      There's also been demos of being able to DoS certain buses in the car remotely and wirelessly, preventing everything from in-car entertainment to immobilisers from working, etc. using similar techniques.

      These things are all out there. Go look. And that's just OBD. God knows what happens when you start tying in Wifi into the car speakers, joining that to the satnav for Internet updates, joining those to the car etc.

      You can see cars on the market today, not even particularly unusual or modern ones, that pull in OBD information into the electronic dashboard which also doubles as a music interface and a satnav and a fuel gauge and a Bluetooth phone interface and everything else. It's not at all hard to imagine that such things haven't covered every single possible hole where information from one can leak to another.

      And anything OBD-writing is potentially dangerous. As in "blow up your engine" dangerous. Most older OBD systems are nothing more than read-only technical data. Newer ones do more to allow flashing, firmware updates, and even modification of settings that control emission levels (e.g. fuel injectors, exhaust re-introduction pumps, etc.). Add that together and you have one big mess waiting to happen.

      There's a reason that you don't buy mod-chips for your engine nowadays that you can swap out to pass emissions test and then swap back to get the "sports performance" of your car. Because they don't need to swap the chips physically any more.

      • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @08:14AM (#49976619) Homepage

        And for when you say "Links or it never happened":

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/an... [forbes.com]

        Or just Google OBD hacks.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Yes, these have been on Slashdot before. And as said before, the big scaremongering jump is that while there are several well publicized examples of people hacking or DoSing buses by connecting a cable to the interface, demonstrations of remotely doing so wirelessly is much more scarce.
        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          Oh, the car-without-a-dashboard-because-it-has-been-so-hacked-on hack, whereby the brakes were partially disabled with a computer and various vehicular things were controlled by someone other than the driver.

          Any tool with a toolkit can do that to any car. The only "OMG!" in that article (which I did read, over a year ago when it was published) is that it happened with a Macbook.

          A smarter tool can can do the partially-disabled brakes trick on any ABS-equipped vehicle using a 555 timer and a toggle switch, e

      • Yes, you can do a lot through the OBD. So what? If you have access to the OBD, you also have access to roll under the car and cut the brake line or pop open the hood and tamper with the engine that way.

      • > There have been public demonstrations, some televised, of certain models of modern car that allow you to change things like timings and injection sequences, via OBD, over Blueooth, using default passcodes.

        What car has Blutooth OBD without having to have physical access to the car to attach a bluetooth dongle to the OBD port?

  • The real question to me is. Do these cars really need all this shit? How about a car that just takes me where I am going, don't really need it to babysit , entertain of second guess me.
    • The real question to me is. Do these cars really need all this shit?

      So long as there is consumer demand the answer is yes.

      How about a car that just takes me where I am going, don't really need it to babysit , entertain of second guess me.

      Those are available if you want them. Not hard to find relatively bare bones vehicles if you bother to look. For people who want something a little more sophisticated there are extra options available. Personally I LIKE having a screen in my car with GPS. I like having satellite radio, remote entry, heated seats, AC and USB power, backup camera, etc and I'm willing to pay a bit extra for them. Personal preference and your mileage may (literally) var

      • "Not hard to find relatively bare bones vehicles if you bother to look."

        For most people it doesn't work that way because it requires "bare bones" to be on the top of the requirements list, which is usually not the case. I myself have "bare bones" pretty high on the list but, still, not on top.

        So the problem is not that "it is not hard to find a bare bones vehicle" but that I can't find the model I want with limited electronics: I want xenon lights, "oh, well, that comes with the comfort package that also c

        • So the problem is not that "it is not hard to find a bare bones vehicle" but that I can't find the model I want with limited electronics: I want xenon lights, "oh, well, that comes with the comfort package that also comes with lane departure and blind spot alarms and remote start".

          So put the xenon lights on yourself if that is important to you. Nothing wrong with modifying your car to suit. I've never owned a car that I haven't added at least one aftermarket feature. I've done plenty of it myself. It's possible to find almost any modification you could possibly want if you are willing to look hard enough and/or spend enough money on it.

          • "So put the xenon lights on yourself if that is important to you. Nothing wrong with modifying your car to suit."

            Except that in EU, where I live, most modifications are expensive as hell, since they require safetyness certification.

            "It's possible to find almost any modification you could possibly want if you are willing to look hard enough and/or spend enough money on it."

            On one hand this isn't a black/white issue: with enough money I could build a fully bespoken car, it's only I don't have such enough mone

        • Not a problem: there's a bunch of aftermarket companies who will custom-modify your car for you with xenon lights.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          So the problem is not that "it is not hard to find a bare bones vehicle" but that I can't find the model I want with limited electronics: I want xenon lights, "oh, well, that comes with the comfort package that also comes with lane departure and blind spot alarms and remote start".

          Thats when you tell the dealer you only want Xenon lights.

          If he says no, you thank him for his time and leave. He'll call you back in a day or so telling you that he's "pulled some strings and got it done" (which like everything that emerges from a car dealers mouth, is utter bullshit, he always could do it but he was hoping you'd cave in to the more expensive package).

          You can also always go aftermarket which wouldn't be any more expensive than going through the dealer, even in the EU.

      • Personally I LIKE having a screen in my car with GPS. I like having satellite radio, remote entry, heated seats, AC and USB power, backup camera, etc and I'm willing to pay a bit extra for them. Personal preference and your mileage may (literally) vary.

        All great things. But it's a huge leap from there to turning your car into a IoT device.

        I even like the idea of radar anti collision brake systems and parking assistance Just not someone else easily controlling the things.

        If we want a sneak preview of life with IoT cars, just look at OnStar. Only now controllable by people who often tell others to "go die in a fire". Now they might make their wishes come true.

      • I think Automakers should really, REALLY expand their configurators to include all the gritty details of electronics - for advanced buyers.
        Being able to say "I don't want bluetooth-based this on my car" would totally be awesome.
        Oh well, wishful thinking.

        • I think Automakers should really, REALLY expand their configurators to include all the gritty details of electronics - for advanced buyers.

          I don' t think you appreciate the cost of doing that. Every option and component you add to a car adds non-trivial cost and complexity to the vehicle. There is no real economic case to be made (currently) for vehicle manufacturers to do this. The added cost of production, development and support and the added customer confusion would hugely outweigh any economic benefit. They also have to be supported for decades afterwards. Do you really want the same bluetooth system 15 years from now? Probably not.

          • Not sure I agree here. I have the option of adding some crappy luggage holder net or city bumpers in the car configurator but have no say in removing OBD. It looks like the car maker is throwing some crumbs my way but denying me the possibility of refusing something I don't want.

            • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

              I have no idea what 'city bumpers' are, but the luggage net is something added by the dealer, not the factory. Same with things like floor mats. Most other things, however, are added (or not) when the car is manufactured. So there are basically two possibilities: make a mix of options that you think cover most of your market, or custom-build cars.

              Making a mix of options means you have to guess at what people will buy. Guess wrong, and you have a shortage of some combinations and a glut of unsold cars w

    • The more important question is - does it really need you? A computer will be far more efficient and safe as a pilot. Better to resolve these issues than pretend that that 1962 Dodge Dart you drive is the height of transportation elegance.

      • telnet car-ip
        login: root
        password: admin

        root@car ~# service collision-avoidance stop
        root@car ~# service braking stop
        root@car ~# throttle_set 100%
        root@car ~#
        Connection lost.

    • by Torodung ( 31985 )

      Mitsubishi Lancer. You can still get one with only two led displays (radio/dash) and no Bluetooth, I think.

      Many other entry level cars probably lack such features. God help you if you want an SUV, though.

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @07:53AM (#49976479)
    Why should a hack of the navigation or audio system allow access to the braking system? Why hasn't the DOT mandated an air gap between critical vehicle operation systems(braking, acceleration, ignition, steering, transmission, etc) and all others.
    • by catsRus ( 548036 )
      The engine control unit is connected to some sound systems in OEM setups so your puny engine sounds "cool" by making fake engine sounds through the stereo. Pretty lame reason to make it less secure.
      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        It's not a reason to make it less-secure, the engine control system should not be bloatware.

        Unnecessary features on critical systems are a safety hazard, due to possible bugs, not just a security risk, and formal validation and 3rd party review of all the code should be required.

        "Sounds through the stereo" could be made by a separate microprocessor that listens in on signals sent over a read-only bus channel.

    • Interoperation. Integrated displays which allow for unifying control of driver operations means air gaps are impossible. The same system which indicates the driver has muted the audio (say, because of travel under challenging conditions) also indicates that the ABS system is functioning (or that a function failure has occurred, or that the ABS has been manually bypassed for maximum maneuverability),as well as the speed, engine RPM, and gear (or ratio for gearless) selected.

      Another example: "speed sensitive"

      • by dargaud ( 518470 )
        Bullshit. You can have for instance separate busses: internal secure (for anything critical), internal unsecure (read-only, so info like speed can be read by others), external unsecure (car stereo, etc). You can even have them all on the same copper with the proper subnetting.
    • by TonyJohn ( 69266 )

      Because convenience features require these things to be connected together.

      Plenty of cars have radios which adjust their volume according to the speed of the vehicle - information which probably comes from the chassis (braking) system. Any car which has a graphical display probably uses it to warn you that the oil needs changing (from the engine management system) as well as to show you what MP3 you're currently playing. There is also a trend to reduce costs by consolidating systems together (maybe you

    • "Why should a hack of the navigation or audio system allow access to the braking system?"

      Because the infotainment system is tied to the engine start to make sure -as per legal requirement, you can't turn on your DVD while moving. Or in order to give you precise alarms about going above the speed limit. Or to offer a verbal message about the oil engine running low. Or...

      These are obviously examples, which can be countered in a one-by-one basis, but the point is that what brings full efficiency to any comp

      • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @08:48AM (#49976903)

        There's no reason why the infotainment system can't have read-only access to the engine control module (with write access physically prevented by the hardware). You won't be able to modify the engine management without physical access to the car, but that's the way it should be anyway.

        • "There's no reason why the infotainment system can't have read-only access to the engine control module"

          The truth is that there must be a reason if it is in fact done. Maybe not a reason you find reasonable, but a reason nevertheless.

          • There is always a reason to everything. Why did a car run over a pedestrian? Because the driver was drunk. Why the driver was driving drunk? He was not drunk enough and wanted to buy some more.

            And cars have no security because security costs money. Unless the penalty for having a buggy code is higher than the cost of security, cars will have buggy code.

        • by eth1 ( 94901 )

          There's no reason why the infotainment system can't have read-only access to the engine control module (with write access physically prevented by the hardware). You won't be able to modify the engine management without physical access to the car, but that's the way it should be anyway.

          The problem with this logic is that "read-only" access still implies that the unprivileged system can poke the privileged one and cause it to do something. It will probably also have to pass some kind of data to the privileged system as well. Read-only or not, that opens the door to several kinds of exploits (buffer overflow, etc.).

          • The problem with this logic is that "read-only" access still implies that the unprivileged system can poke the privileged one and cause it to do something.

            No, "read-only" implies exactly the opposite of that. The privileged system (ECU) should be sending exactly the same signals to the interface whether the non-privileged system (infotainment) is connected to it or not. The ECU shouldn't be able to even know the difference.

          • This a CAN bus system, the write pin can be physically disconnected. The read pin will send you a stream of data, which you can ignore or make use of, but you have no way to send data.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          There's no reason why the infotainment system can't have read-only access to the engine control module (with write access physically prevented by the hardware). You won't be able to modify the engine management without physical access to the car, but that's the way it should be anyway.

          The biggest reason the infotainment system cant (or more accurately, wont) have read only access is the fact that a lot of cars use the infotainment system to adjust things in the engine, suspension, braking systems, throttle response and so forth. BMWs and Mercs are especially bad for this but other manufacturers are catching up.

    • Why should a hack of the navigation or audio system allow access to the braking system? Why hasn't the DOT mandated an air gap between critical vehicle operation systems(braking, acceleration, ignition, steering, transmission, etc) and all others.

      Ask the people at OnStar. They got the first foot in that door.

      long version, once you have the ability to remotely disable the vehicle, open and close locks, etc, the other forces come into play who might like system analysis and exercise coupled with the ability to analyze the vehicle while the customer is using it. There's some tremendous utility for a troubleshooting system where they customer can push a button to send data to the mechanics when the car is acting up.

      That's all kinda nice, but remot

  • I can confirm how fuck-all simple it is to rig an RTLSDR dongle assembly with a 9-volt battery and a small breadboard to intercept & jam an incoming signal from the actual fob. After the dongle knows the frequency, it is now synced to the proper frequency range and "channels" to cycle through while the legit fob is now "out of sync" since the next time the fob sends a signal it won't be the right one needed to trigger whatever it was supposed to do. Eventually the legit fob will come around to the rig

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      since the next time the fob sends a signal it won't be the right one needed to trigger whatever it was supposed to do

      No different than if the fob sends a signal while out of range of the device.

      They would have to jam the fob across numerous communication attempts, before they would truly come out of sync so badly that the fob could no longer operate after the jamming was turned off.

      • The second time the fob transmits, likely within a second of the first, jamming/interception again happens but the first acknowledgement recorded by the dongle is sent back at the fob.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          But the first acknowledgement recorded by the dongle is sent back at the fob.

          What acknowledgement? I thought you were jamming the fob.... If there's an acknowledgement, that means the remote side saw the message at least once, so you started jamming after they already sent a signal and operated their RKE one time.

          I am also under the impression that the vast majority of fobs are one-way transmitter-only devices, and the car side only has a receiver, so the fobs are not expecting an acknowledgemen

          • Yeah, I meant sent to the car, not fob. Just Google all this man, if you know enough to bust my balls about me posting like an idiot you know how this works, its just MITM with RF.

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Please explain how you determine what the next output of a 40-bit PRNG will be by capturing a sample or two. You haven't 'synced' anything, and you have no ability to do what the real fob can do. The most you can do is stop the real fob from working. Big deal.

  • by Somebody Is Using My ( 985418 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @08:08AM (#49976563) Homepage

    Personally, I want a hackable car. What I do not want is a /remotely/ hackable car.

    I want a vehicle where I, as the owner, can access all its bits-n-bobs - even the digital ones - to tune it as I desire. I do not want a car whose computers are so saddled down with "security" that the only ones who can access its electronic brains are "authorized" technicians who have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the appropriate software and hardware. Too often I see "security" being used by automobile manufacturers as an excuse to lock out the owners (or even ordinary mechanics) from modifying - or even diagnosing - the vehicle without first tithing to the manufacturer for the privilege.

    Of course, only I as owner (or any I authorize) should be allowed to adjust my car in this way; obviously, I do not want any nefarious parties to alter my car's settings - especially not while I am driving! But while this is something the designers and manufacturers need to keep in mind, so far I am unaware of /any/ successful attempt to "hack" a moving car. Of course, if a nefarious individual gets access to the OBDII port on my car, there's no end to the damage he could do, but no computer (or car! think "cutting the brake lines") is safe if somebody has physical access to it.

    So forgive me if I interpret these worried cries about how my car might be "hacked" less as an earnest warning about my vehicle's vulnerability to malicious actors and more as another attempt by the manufacturer to gouge the owner out of even more money just so he can continue to tinker with his own property.

    • This!

    • by TonyJohn ( 69266 )
      I think I can be pretty sure in saying that you're not going to get it.
    • "I want a vehicle where I, as the owner, can access all its bits-n-bobs - even the digital ones - to tune it as I desire."

      Good luck with that, since the industry is going the opposite direction: on one hand, cars are more and more easierly hackable (in the bad sense of the word) even remotely. On the other hand, they are trying to prevent hacking the cars (in the good sense of the word) by means of higher entry barriers, as you said, and legal coercion (you know, you don't own the car, it's licensed to you

      • Good luck with that, since the industry is going the opposite direction

        Fuck the industry! I refuse to buy any new car because of this. (And I'm not just saying that: my new (to me) daily driver is a 1990 Miata. If it weren't for this bullshit, I'd have a pre-order in for a 2016 one right now.)

        • "Fuck the industry! I refuse to buy any new car because of this. (And I'm not just saying that: my new (to me) daily driver is a 1990 Miata."

          Not that I don't see your point, since I myself own a 1996 and a 2000 cars, but let's be realist: is it your daily commuter, or is it your weekend fun car? If it is not your daily commuter, what's your daily commuter? Is it also a "pre-electronics" car? Do you expect it to last as long as you?

          • My daily commuter is a 1982 MB W123 modified to run on LPG (LPG costs 38% of what gasoline costs here). No software at all.

            Rust is a problem but so far I have no problems keeping the car patched. The engine still works, it did not need an overhaul yet.

            In case this car is no longer in serviceable condition I am going to buy a different car of a similar year of manufacture. In case the law prevents me I am going to buy a car that has the least amount of electronics in it and then try to increase security by s

          • let's be realist: is it your daily commuter, or is it your weekend fun car?

            Until last week, it was my daily commuter (60 mile round trip). The only reason it isn't now is that I just started a new job that's close enough to commute by bicycle. The thing may be 25 years old, but it's only got 85K miles on it and is in great condition (except for the fact that it has a tape deck, pop-up headlights and only one airbag, you'd think it was brand new).

            I admit, it's also my fun car since I use it for autocross, to

    • Damnit! I have mod points, but I already posted. Somebody mod this up please; the parent is exactly right.

    • by sudon't ( 580652 )

      I want a computer-free car.

  • All you need are a couple pistons fitted into a block, so that you can run some fuel to the pistons, to turn a shaft, which spins your transmission, which then turns the wheels. I manage just fine with two wheels, and a set of handlebars, powered by an engine produce back in 1982. No automagic turn signal canceling, no power windows, no air conditioning, no heater - although I am somewhat of a sissy, in that I insist on a windshield.

    Cars. I want very little more in a car than I have on my motorcycle. I

    • I want very little more in a car than I have on my motorcycle.

      And I want quite a lot more in a car than you have on your motorcycle. Doesn't mean either of us is right or wrong but I think there are more of people like me than there are of people like you. I want a car with a quiet interior, satellite radio, heated seats, a GPS, etc. I drive rather a lot and want a car that allows me to do so with reasonable comfort. You clearly don't live where I do if you actually want a car with no heat and no AC. I've driven cars like that and you can keep them if you actuall

    • The turn signal cancelling in my car is mechanical. I dislike heat so I will put in AC in my 1982 car (the most important and difficult to obtain part already ordered with $400 shipping from the US). Heater is also useful to defrost the windshield or when it's -30C outside.

      However, I do not need my car to be controlled by software. A carburetor does a good enough job of supplying air/fuel mixture to the engine and does not need software.

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        A properly tuned carburetor may do a good enough job. Of course, properly tuned means it is adjusted for the current air temp, engine temp, altitude, etc. That may happen at a race track, it doesn't happen anywhere else. Do you think the manufacturers all switched to computer controlled fuel injection just to mess with you?

        • Even an improperly tuned carburetor can still do a good enough job. A few percent CO in the exhaust and the engine still runs fine. At least at the legal speeds, I am sure that the carburetor would need to be tuned for the current air temperature, engine temperature, altitude if I wanted to race and get the most power from the engine, but since the top speed of my car exceeds the speed limit even if the carburetor adjustment is less than optimal, the requirements are a bit less strict.

          For some reason some a

          • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

            Well OK, if your definition of 'good enough' is that the engine runs. If your definition includes using fuel effieciently and polluting the least amount possible, an improperly tuned carburetor is nowhere near 'good enough'. If you want a quick demo of that, take a walk on a suburban street some Saturday morning and enjoy the fresh aroma of all those poorly tuned lawnmowers.

  • Requiring car manufacturers to "own" all of the possible software defects for the life of a car means that manufacturers will have to put a limited life on some of these systems. Otherwise each car they make will have a potentially infinite cost. "You want anti-lock brakes after 5 years? Here's the maintenance fee... and you can expect that to rise by 10% per year."
    • Software, compared to mechanical parts, does not rust or wear out. Write it properly once and it will work properly forever.

      Pass a law that requires all car software to be in a mask ROM and you will see the decline in bugs as the cost of updates increase. The software will be written more carefully and there will be less of it.

      Just like my old tape deck or CD player or TV does not need updates (because that would be done by replacing a chip) but a new TV or Bluray player does.

  • by garyoa1 ( 2067072 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @09:17AM (#49977209)

    There will come a day when some clown, nut, terrorist, whatever will stand on a bridge over a highway and push a button on his remote. And all cars will speed up and turn left. When there is no left turn. Computerizing creature comforts in a car makes sense. Computerizing, engine, brakes and things that can kill you... well, what are they thinking?

    • by captjc ( 453680 )

      There is nothing wrong with computerizing the engine, brakes, and so forth in and of themselves. This has been going on for years and has helped make cars lighter, cheaper, and more fuel efficient with better onboard diagnostics to boot.

      The problem lies when companies stop designing their control systems as closed loops. It is often cheaper to use wireless devices rather than wired and many car manufactures (and law enforcement) want the ability to remotely control the car and push firmware updates and what

    • Yes, that day will come. However the outcome from that event won't be what you may think.

      If we take 9/11 as a template of idiotic reactions to terrorist events, here will be the likely outcome:
      1. The true perp, the decision makers(marketing management, etc; not coders) who enable cars to be the toys of hackers, will avoid any blame. They will be swiftly whisked off to team building sessions in Aspen, Cancun or Jackson Hole, where they will be presented with awards for their forward thinking and accom
  • You have an industry that deals with system and buses that were never designed to be secure. Simply because not only was it never intended to be "user enhance-able", it was never intended to be accessible without being, you know, INSIDE the car. Where you would first of all need a key to get in.

    But then marketing came along... need I say more?

    Security and convenience are diametrically opposed. There are very, very few things you could possibly think of that improve both, but a load of thing where raising ei

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      "And you're transmitting your key to your car"
      "Yeah!"
      "Aaaaand... constantly while you're walking around."
      "Uh.... well, ... yeah..."
      "Whew. Glad mine doesn't inform anyone and everyone what key I use wherever I go. Someone bad might listen..."

      Active keys transmit only when you press the button. Passive keys transmit only when a challenge is transmitted to them. That's why the latter only functions if you're fairly close to the vehicle.

      So it is not constantly transmitting the key while you're walking around. It's transmitting the key to anything that can sufficiently imitate the key-request transmission of a car.

      Most of these systems implement appropriate rolling-key or challenge-response protocols so that the transmissions are not easily replaya

  • by lcam ( 848192 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2015 @02:15PM (#49979903)

    The wireless access being put in without much care for the sake of ease of use the main issue, not that cars ECU's can be modified.

    The performance tuning community depends on being able to do ECU modifications to bump up performance.

    The debate about ECU security is actually about encrypting or otherwise hindering the ability of car owners to modify their tune. Locking down the ECU is relatively easy; the farm tractor manufacturers already use encryption and keys and will void a warranty if their ECU's are modified. This created an increase in demand for older farm equipment that could be modified.

    This issue boils down to freedom to own and do what you will with what you own verses licence-ship and having to accept something with use limitation.

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