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You don’t waste much time thinking about the computer in your car, but a pair of Spanish security researchers sure do. Javier Vazquez-Vidal and Alberto Garcia Illera have assembled a small electronic device that can leave a vehicle’s computer system open to attack and a mere five minutes or less to hook up and then walk away, It can also be built from off-the-shelf components for less than $20.
The team says, they’ve wired the CAN Hacking Tool (named for the Controller Area Network bus it exploits) into four vehicles, and have used it to wirelessly manipulate lights, set off alarms, control power windows and even activate the vehicle’s brakes. They hope to outfit the prototype with a GSM radio, making it possible to control vehicle’s systems from virtually anywhere. Still, Vidal says they don’t want to aid any nefarious activities, so the hacking tool’s source code is going to remain private for now.