Tag Archives: car hacking

George Hotz has created an $88 device that will let you ‘hack’ your car so that it can do new things


Famous hacker George Hotz put his first car product on the market on Friday, a few months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration prevented him from selling a self-driving roof kit.

Called Panda, the device sells for $88 and can plug into a vehicle’s OBDII port to access data typically only available to vehicle manufacturers. Hotz also released a software tool called Cabana that will allow car enthusiasts to reverse engineer their cars using the data compiled by Panda.

Why would you want to do that?

The idea is to let people “hack” their cars the same way they can tinker with and customize a computer. That could mean souping up a vehicle with semi-autonomous features. Using the Panda/Cabana combo for example, someone could theoretically write software to give a car automatic braking or advanced cruise control (assuming the car has the necessary sensors built-in).

The Panda dongle can also let car owners geek out and access information about the car’s performance under certain conditions, such as how fast the car can accelerate on a full tank of gas versus a half tank of gas.

Clearly this isn’t aimed at the average driver.

Hotz is best known as the first person to hack the iPhone when he was 17, allowing people to use the phone on other networks aside from AT&T’s. He also broke into the PlayStation 3 in 2010 when he was 20.


panda comma aiComma AI just launched its first product, Panda.Comma AI

Both Panda and Cabana are being sold by Hotz’ startup, Comma AI, which initially planned to sell a self-driving retrofit kit for $999 at the end of 2016.

“A car is $25,000. Imagine you can buy a $1,000 add-on kit to the car you already have versus buying like a new Model 3 Tesla? It looks like a pretty good value proposition,” Hotz previously told Business Insider.

But Hotz decided not to sell the roof kit in late October after receiving a letter from the NHTSA that asked the startup to provide information ensuring the product’s safety or face civil penalties of up to $21,000 a day.

Comma AI still has ambitions to build, what Hotz has called, the Android version of Tesla Autopilot. Users can choose to upload the data collected to Comma AI’s chffr cloud app, which Hotz said will be used to build future self-driving car models.

“iOS is a walled garden that only runs on one model, just like Autopilot is a walled garden that only runs on one manufacturer’s car,” he said. “Android on the other hand runs on many different manufacturer’s phones. That’s where we want to be.”

Source: Business Insider

Wifi and cloud based applications bring a new wave of car hacking

Wifi and cloud based applications bring a new wave of car hacking


Security researchers* have exposed security vulnerability in Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid cars that allowed hackers to remotely turn off the car’s alarm system, control the lights and drain the battery. Stolen vehicle recovery expert, TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), which has been a longstanding campaigner against vulnerable vehicle security systems, warns that in-car wifi and cloud based applications present a wide range of opportunities for thieves to attack, making it even more difficult  for modern vehicles to be completely secure from determined hackers.

Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER, and a former Chief Superintendent for South Yorkshire Police, Andy Barrs says, “The latest security breach, involving the Mitsubishi Outlander, demonstrates just how advanced thieves are in developing their tactics to tackle new technology. Although manufacturers are constantly developing new immobiliser technology, designed to outpace criminals and make new models significantly more secure, thieves will continue to look for new ways to outwit them, including exploiting telematics and mobile connectivity.

“Of late, standalone key programming theft tools have been making news headlines, but over the next decade, cloud-based theft tools that simply require internet connection are anticipated to dominate.  By hacking this type of technology thieves are able to easily target the most desirable models and steal to order, requiring no tools to enter or drive the vehicle away.”

TRACKER’s stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) device is the only solution used by all the UK’s police forces; it works like an electronic homing device.  A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle, and there is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there.   Uniquely, TRACKER combines GSM, GPS and VHF technology, which means it is able to locate a stolen vehicle anywhere, even when if it is hidden in a garage or shipping container.  It’s this matchless combination of technology that makes TRACKER’s SVR solutions resilient to ‘jamming’ – another commonly used tactic by car thieves – creating the most robust stolen car tracking and locating unit available.

Source: Tracker