Chrysler has to recall its cars due to security vulnerabilities


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/07/24/chrysler-has-to-recall-its-car.html


#2

What a refreshing surprise to see a large company do something responsible instead of just posturing legal threats.

Way to go Chrysler!


#3

Well, in this case, they did both, but good on 'em for the recall anyway.


#4

At long last. Cars should not be designed so that there is possibility that they can be remotely hacked in the first place. If you have to include network-connectible computers, do keep them physically disconnected from the computer that does the actual running of the car.


#5

Who actually makes these uConnect units? Is it Delphi?


#6

selling 1.4 million automobiles (just a handful of models available) seems like a herculean task… Is that ever the intent? to hopefully sell them all in a fiscal year? It seems like way too much…beyond a glut. then again , I have never heard any industrialist ever say something along the lines of “You know, I think weave made enough cars (sofubi crap, consumer electronics, tupperware WHATEVER) for this year, let alone the millions and millions we produced the previous years-- how about we give the conveyor belts and natural resources a rest this time around-- for healthy moderation’s sake?” …has that ever happerned? will it ever happen? ARE WE ALL DOOMED?


#7

I am going to say it without apology, and to hell with anyone that might design cars who thinks otherwise-

STOP NETWORKING VEHICLES. Stop it!

The internet of things is a stupid idea IMHO. But, if you must connect something to the internet, connect a washing machine, whatever.

But don’t connect the 2000 lb speeding death machine I am driving to the internet! There is no level of convenience anyone should be willing to accept to allow even the possibility of this kind of threat! It’s exactly like backdoors in cryptographic protocols- it is, by design, another avenue of entry to what should be a closed system by design for proper function.

If the concept of some devices remaining a closed system by design for personal security isn’t grasped by you, you shouldn’t even attempt to defy it. A car can easily kill someone through normal use. They do every day.

If you create a car that can kill people without warning in new ways, by people on the other side of the earth or even inside the car itself, altering the fundamental safety of an already dangerous device for the “convenience” of your kids in the backseat watching the latest Disney movie on Hulu, you are a frightening idiot willing to throw away a fundamental level of safety of everyone on the road for the sake of finding a Starbucks on your way to work with a google search.

Stupid lazy designers- stupid lazy car companies- throw any other gimmick at your vehicles but this one! Stop throwing technology at everything to sell it!

Sorry to sound like a “now get off my lawn” old man. But I saw something like this inevitable for years now, and it’s come true- and I would do anything sane to keep this course of stupidity from continuing. This is a possible future we absolutely should avoid at all costs- because as long as computers can be compromised- so will your safety at any second while driving, on top of drunk drivers, and everything else. It’s just not worth it!


#8

-Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.

-Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?

-You wouldn’t believe.


#9

Depends.

The computers can prevent some accidents, they will in turn cause some others. Same for networking them. If all cars in the convoy can brake at the same time, it may be quite helpful.

The question is if they, with all the bugs and warts, can perform better in aggregate than the lousy dumb slow tired distractable humans. My guess is that they have a good chance.


#10

Skynet.


#11

The researchers involved in this were actually kind of douchey. They set up a freeway demo with a journalist, promised they wouldn’t do anything life-threatening, and then (after screwing with his AC and radio) cut his accelerator in the middle of an overpass, with no shoulder and a semi behind him. People could’ve died. A Hacker News commenter actually reported them to the local police after reading the original article, and I can’t really blame him.

Of course, I doubt the assholes over at Chrysler were even aware of that particular incident when they made these implications, so fuck 'em anyway.


#12

If the system were designed for such things, and done securely that would be one thing. Putting every device in the car on the same CAN bus just because it’s already there is lazy engineering at best and horrible security practice.


#13

This is not a technical failure. It is a political failure. In this case, many people worked long to make all the wrong decisions that enabled these failures. We have known how to securely implement these kind of control systems for years. There is very little new or interesting in these systems. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by attempts to blame the technology, we will waste decades before this mess gets cleaned up.

My last car purchase deliberately avoided OnStar and similar systems. My next planned car purchase is in 2018. I intend to shop until I find something that completely isolates the control systems from the external communications. It also needs to allow me to control when it talks out. My current plan is to isolate the car’s cell antenna from the rest of the system with a physical switch. Hopefully we will have better answers in 3 years.


#14

It should work well.

Also consider switching between an antenna and a matching resistive load, instead of just letting the output hang in space (and still acting as an antenna, just stubby and short and low-gain).


#15

What journalist would do this on a freeway instead of a parking lot? A lot of blame on this one to go around.


#16

Apparently they had publicly announced the vulnerability ages ago and Chrysler ignored them, so they figured they needed a clickbaity stunt to get enough attention to force Chrysler’s hand. It seems to have worked, so yay?


#17

The reported gets the same word out from losing control in an empty parking lot, so let’s agree on yay-ish?


#18

Not in the Outrage Economy. It already quite inflated its currency so you need something more than just that now.


#19

Thanks Shaddack,

I did a couple Google searches for things like “Sprint cell antenna impedance” and “OnStar cell antenna impedance”. The Cell vendors are quite reticent about publishing their specs, but the aftermarket guys were more forthcoming. Some of the Sprint Cell booster equipment claims to be 50 ohm impedance. Some of the 4G boosters claim to be 75 ohm.

If you are one of those with a Chrysler and you wish to take proactive action, you may be able to bury the signal by switching a 60 ohm resister in the place of the antenna. In this situation the extra noise produced by an impedance mismatch is probably not going to be a problem.

Of course, any fiddling you do is probably going to adversely effect your signal. At this point I’m not entirely sure that is a bad thing.

I am not your lawyer, electrician or mechanic. This is probably stupid, wrong and misleading. Any protection you gain by controlling your car’s communications will be unseen by you. Any thing that goes wrong will be painfully obvious. YMMV. Not available in all states. Don’t drink and comment. Remember, only Hugh can prevent Doug driving.


#20

Another option is cutting power to the transceiver. That may be easier, if the physical layout of the device is friendly to this. No RF switch needed, a single FET will do a good job and can be made to fail safe (you can select the default if the cable is torn off).

Also, most antenna systems are either 50 or 75 ohm. There are other values but are rarely encountered in the industry.