Researchers control car through device installed to cut motor premiums

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In a new headache for promoters of the connected car, hackers have found a way to control a car’s brakes by hacking into an internet-linked device drivers install to reduce their car insurance premiums.

Researchers from the University California, San Diego have found that a two-inch-square device called an OBD2 dongle, which plugs into a vehicle’s dashboard to monitor its location, speed, and fuel efficiency, can be turned against the driver, according to Wired.

Last month, Wired magazine revealed how hackers could control a connected car through its entertainment system, driving a Jeep into a ditch using a laptop several miles away.

Sending SMS messages to the dongle, researchers were able to control several critical functions of a Corvette sports car, including the brakes.

“We acquired some of these things, reverse engineered them, and along the way found that they had a whole bunch of security deficiencies,” security researcher Stefan Savage, of University of California at San Diego told Wired.

The dongles “provide multiple ways to remotely…control just about anything on the vehicle they were connected to,” he said.

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