Fast and Vulnerable: A Story of Telematic Failures

Post Image

I gave a presentation at WOOT 2015 demonstrating how network enabled telematic control units (TCUs) can be used to remotely control automobiles from arbitrary distance over SMS or the internet.


Modern automobiles are complex distributed systems in which virtually all functionality—from acceleration and braking to lighting and HVAC — is mediated by computerized controllers. The interconnected nature of these systems raises obvious security concerns and prior work has demonstrated that a vulnerability in any single component may provide the means to compromise the system as a whole. Thus, the addition of new components, and especially new components with external networking capability, creates risks that must be carefully considered.

In this paper we examine a popular aftermarket telematics control unit (TCU) which connects to a vehicle via the standard OBD-II port. We show that these devices can be discovered, targeted, and compromised by a remote attacker and we demonstrate that such a compromise allows arbitrary remote control of the vehicle. This problem is particularly challenging because, since this is aftermarket equipment, it cannot be well addressed by automobile manufacturers themselves.

You can read the full paper HERE.

Update: I also gave this talk at ToorCon 2015! See the full talk recording below!

ToorCon 2015 Talk

Demo Video

Presentation Slides

Vulnerability Note: VU#209512