Car hacking code released at Defcon

August 3, 2013 – 7:49 AM

You may hate parallel parking, but you’re going to hate it even more when somebody commandeers control of your car with you in it.

That was the scary scenario painted over the first two hours at the 21st annual Defcon hacker conference.

“Car hacking is definitely coming,” said Zoz, of Cannytophic Design, who presented on how to hack autonomous cars.

Zoz’s talk on vulnerabilities that autonomous autos will face followed a fast-paced explanation by well-known computer security experts Charlie Miller and Christopher Valasek of how they spent the past 10 months hacking the self-driving features of two popular cars. Miller, Valasek, and Zoz all spoke to standing-room only crowds of more than 1,000 people.

While car hacking made a big splash at Defcon in 2010 and 2011, those hacks were not publicly documented. “We want it to take two months for everybody to do this,” Miller said to loud applause from the packed house.

Before going into their hacking explanation, Miller and Valasek admitted that they were not hardware hackers, and had little experience on hardware basics like splicing wires. But they only had one requirement for their test car: that it be able to drive itself.

From there, hilarity ensued. Instead of following Toyota’s guide to removing the dash of their test 2010 Prius, they used a crowbar. Subsequent videos and photos showed them driving around with a laptop wired to the open dash of a car, much to the amusement of the crowd.


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