Canadian military to study hacking cars (Video)
Canadian military to study hacking cars (Video)

Canadian military to study hacking cars (Video)

Car hackers are being courted by the Canadian military as part of a government-led initiative to better grasp automobile cybersecurity amid a rash of damning discoveries.

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), the Canadian military’s research agency, published an official request for interested companies to submit proposals on improving cyber security in automotive systems on Tuesday 6 October, according to the Toronto Star.

“Cyberattacks on information technologies like personal computers and servers usually result mostly in immaterial damages, like the loss, the alteration or the theft of information or money,” DRDC wrote in the proposal. “In the case of vehicular systems, cyberattacks are a more important concern since the safety of their users or other users on the road might be at stake.”

Up to 100 computers in connected cars today

The researchers stress a car produced in 2014 now includes up to 100 computers – also known as Electronic Control Units (ECU) – running 60 million source lines of code, 145 actuators and 75 sensors. The ECUs exchange up to 25GB of data every hour, but since the car has wireless communication capabilities, this opens up a whole new ballpark of trouble.

The contract up for offer is estimated to be worth CA$620,000 and will require the chosen security contractor to be able to exploit and improve software developed by the DRDC that was coded in Python and works on Linux.

“In the last three years, the hacking community has demonstrated many times the possibility to compromise the cybersecurity of cars,” the DRDC wrote. “There is a need to study the security of automotive vehicles, including understanding their vulnerabilities and assessing the potential mitigation measures.

“The first need, understanding the problem, requires appropriate tools and methodologies. The second need, studying mitigation measures, implies testing existing technologies and studying upcoming regulations and guidelines.”

Hackers can kill engines and hijack steering wheels remotely


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