A cyber breach that allows hackers to take control of a moving vehicle has been demonstrated in an alarming new investigation.
Conducted by tech magazine Wired.com
, the shocking footage shows the moment a car travelling on a busy freeway is high-jacked by hackers who remotely access the vehicle via its on-board wi-fi system.
Online security experts Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek show in the below video that they can take over a Jeep Cherokee and control the inner workings of the car.
While the security experts use one brand of car, The Guardian
reports that hundreds of thousands of cars that have UConnect, a wi-fi feature, could be vulnerable.
This begins with innocent enough air-con and radio pranks but soon takes a dark turn as the hackers demonstrate their ability to turn off the car whilst travelling on a freeway and control the braking and steering in lower speeds.
In 2013, Miller and Valasek demonstrated that they could control a car by hacking into the vehicles systems using a wire attached to the dashboard but the wireless breach offers much more terrifying capabilities.
“When I saw we could do it anywhere, over the Internet, I freaked out,” Valasek told Wired.com
“I was frightened. It was like, holy f**k, that’s a vehicle on a highway in the middle of the country. Car hacking got real, right then.”
“For all the critics in 2013 who said our work didn’t count because we were plugged into the dashboard,” Valasek says, “well, now what?”
The researchers notified Fiat Chrysler, who manufacture the Jeep Cherokee, nine months ago and the company have since rolled out an update on its Uconnect software which drivers are being urged to download.
In a statement on 9news.com
, the company criticised the security researchers for making their findings public.
"Under no circumstances does [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] condone or believe it's appropriate to disclose 'how-to information' that would potentially encourage, or help enable hackers to gain unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems," the company said.
Miller noted that while a hack of this kind may seem like a concern of the future, their demonstration shows that the future is now.
“This is what everyone who thinks about car security has worried about for years. This is a reality.”