How safe is your car? Researhers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina have found vulnurabilities in the wireless tire pressure monitors built into moder cars that report low tire pressure to the car’s main computer. These wireless sensors have been made mandatory in the US since 2008 and researchers have found that they could be used to track vehicles or feed raw data back to the car’s central computer which can malfunction.
We had reported earlier that a similar research had showed that the cars computers called electronic control units (ECU) could be hacked. This new research shows that other systems in the vehicles are insecure as well in particular, the tire pressure monitors because they are wireless and a hacker with equipment worth just $1,500 can hack its wireless signal.
It gets better, these pressure sensors were found to have unique IDs so each car can be tracked as well! The researchers were also able to alter the readings once in the system and cause warning lights on the dashboard to turn on and off.
Researchers however concluded that these attacks, if ever to occur, would only cause minor harm and it was highly unlikely that it could cause any real danger. The researchers also noted that the car tire pressure monitors send signals in intervals and a consistent attack does not seem probable.
The research will be presented at the USENIX Security conference later this week.
Other research that will be presented at the conference include browser privacy issues.