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Car Jacking – Proven control over new cars – InfoSec


New cars can be “hijacked” and taken over, remotely.

The stereo system can be used to send the car out of control.  A CD in the stereo can trigger the car’s on board control systems to fail.  The brakes can be tampered with…. the ability to switch off the braking system is very serious.

Lights Out.

Our analysis in Section V uncovered packets that can disable certain interior and exterior lights
on the car. We combined these packets to disable all of the car’s lights when the car is traveling at speeds of 40 MPH
or more, which is particularly dangerous when driving in the dark.
This includes the headlights, the brake lights, the auxiliary lights, the interior dome light, and the illumination
of the instrument panel cluster and other display lights inside the car. This attack requires the lighting control system to
be in the “automatic” setting, which is the default setting for most drivers.
One can imagine this attack to be extremely dangerous in a situation where a victim is driving at high speeds at night in a dark environment; the driver would not be able to see the the road ahead, nor the speedometer, and people in other cars would not be able to see the victim car’s brake lights. We conducted this experiment on both cars while they were on jack stands and while driving on a closed course

University of Washington Research is here:


Dr. Kathleen Fisher speaks on DARPA’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program (details using the stereo system to control the car).

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