Hackers Expose How Airbag System can be Hacked in an Audi Car

A group of researchers from CrySys Lab and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics has demonstrated how easily airbags system of an Audi TT can be hacked and disabled.

Car hacking is not something new but disabling airbags is really something new. Though, this is not something as massive as recent hacks demonstrated by the researchers but this is something that is probable to happen in reality.

The researchers showed how software used for fixing and debugging cars can be exploited to enter into car’s systems. The software is though not sold by the company itself but by third parties.

Once the software from the third party is attached to the car (which has to be exploited by the hackers) it transfers the malware in the exploited system to the original car which in return turns off the airbags of the car

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According to the researchers, they only experimented on Audi TT model but believe other models might also be vulnerable to the attack, reports The Register.

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Stuxnet: inspiring evildoers everywhere since 2005 / Image Source: The Register

Why this exploit is riskier than other exploits is that it uses third party computers to enter into so much more difficult to rectify, previous hacks were having car’s software exploited so much easier to detect.

One of the security researchers, Craig Smith, warned of such hacks in a presentation when he exposed a method by which cars can be hacked by third party software used by dealerships or repair shops. 

Image Source: CrySyS Lab
Image Source: CrySyS Lab

In the past, hackers demonstrated how driverless cars can be hacked by compromising 3D imaging system. In a separate research, hackers exposed that United States police late-model vehicles are vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Source (PDF)CrySyS Lab

Pushpa Mishra

Pushpa is a Dubai based scientific academic editor who worked for Reuters' Zawya business magazine and at the same time a passionate writer for HackRead. From the very first day she has been a blessing for team Hackread. Thanks to her dedication and enthusiasm.