For the last 10 years, the automotive industry has been involved in an electrification and automation process that is revolutionizing the way we drive. The fundamentals of this deep transformation are the battery-powered engines, the self-driving cars and the connected vehicles. These technological advances - specially the connectivity of the vehicles - brings many new cybersecurity challenges that need to be addressed in the coming years.
The goal of the work we present here is to assess the current state of the connected vehicles security. Compared with other works already published where the researchers chose to attack a popular modern car, we focused in other automotive components and systems that security experts - and car designers - usually overlook and that could be abused to launch scalable and massive attacks. The analyzed devices like T-boxes, OBD2 dongles, 5G modems, MQTT servers and mobile apps. We aimed to get a broader picture of the automotive security and not a limited view based exclusively on the car security.
Our research resulted in multiple vulnerability issues that can be exploited remotely to get full control of an entire fleet of vehicles, including cars, heavy-duty trucks and cranes. Although our work is limited to few devices - not enough to make an industry-wide conclusion - it indicates that these kind of security issues might be common and the security of connected automotive systems needs to be improved.
Yashin Mehaboobe is a security consultant at Xebia and has more than 8 years experience in the embedded systems security domain. His primary areas of interest is blackbox vulnerability analysis and pentesting of common IoT devices with focus on Internet facing scalable attacks. He's also identified several fault injection attacks in open source embedded software and modern microcontrollers. In his spare time he likes to travel, take photographs, bake and read.
Ramiro Pareja is Principal Security Consultant at IOActive. He has large experience in cybersecurity and he specializes in Embedded Systems and SoC security. In the last years, Ramiro has developed his interest and expertise in the automotive industry. He is actively researching in the field of automotive security, where he successfully applied hardware attacks like fault injection and side channel analysis. If it has chips, he can break it.