It Costs $60 Dollars to Hack Your Car
The CANtact is a Raspberry Pi like computer for hacking cars.
It’s no surprise that as cars become high tech, they also become easier to hack. This is a reality we’ve come to accept as our world gets digitized. However this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to prevent hacks. The CANtact’s aim is primarily to strengthen Automobile Manufacturers focus on hack prevention.
Eric Evenchick has created the CANtact in efforts to raise awareness to the public and major car companies about just how easily you can hack a car. By attaching the $60 credit card sized computer to your laptop and the other to a network port under the car’s dashboard the user gains access to the CAN bus which is a collection of connected computers that control everything from the automatic windows, windshield wipers to even the brakes.
The gadget isn’t intended for any malicious conduct even though it’s remarkably affordable and easy to use. Evenchick’s intentions are to create an open source product that will inspire users to play with the user friendly interface and create hobbyist who are encouraged to expose and help fix a car’s vulnerabilities.
Even the software is open sourced and easy to use, automated to do much of the work on it’s own. Using Unified Diagnostic Services (CAN protocol that mechanics use to communicate with Electronic Control Units) programmers can write directions with Python’s coding language. Although not much coding exist quite yet for this system, Evenchick is excited to see how providing a platform for young hobbyist can encourage not only preventative hacking tests but codes that could change the way we interact with our cars all together. If you’re someone that is wanting to get into coding to change the future of connected smart cars, you could start looking into teaching yourself coding languages and techniques through websites such as afterhoursprogramming.com and others.
Evenchick’s was inspired by researchers Miller and Valasek’s findings that cars internal dashboards lacked serious protection. Their demonstrations led to Massachusetts’ senator Edward Markey demanding answers from major car companies about the security holes in their systems and ultimately revealing that out of 20 well known automobile companies, only 7 used third party security auditors for their vehicles and even those can be compromised.
The CANtact could potentially be a product that would strengthen the security for cars by educating the public on the inner workings of CAN bus systems.
You can purchase a CANtact at http://cantact.io/ for $59.95, USB and OBD-II cables not included.