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Researchers develop hacking software to control moving car

Details of the research will be revealed at security conference Defcon in Las Vegas.

By CBR Staff Writer

A team of US security researchers have claimed that vulnerabilities in a car’s information system can enable them to hack into it using their laptops.

Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek said they will release details of their research at next month’s Defcon security conference in Las Vegas.

Miller and Valasek told the BBC that their intention is to raise awareness about the security issues around increasingly computer-dominated car control.

Under the project, researchers connected a laptop wirelessly to a car’s computer networks and they controlled the steering and brakes as well as being able to switch the headlights on and off.

They hacked a Toyota Prius and a 2010 Ford Escape by using cables, which were used to connect the devices to the vehicles’ electronic control units (ECUs) through the on-board diagnostics ports.

The duo were able to steer a Toyota Prius and installed a device under the vehicle’s wheel to dismantle its brakes.

The project was funded by a $80,000 grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

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Toyota told the BBC that it invested heavily in security research.

"Toyota has developed very strict and effective firewall technology against such remote and wireless services. We continue to try to hack our systems and have a considerable investment in state of the art electro-magnetic R&D facilities," the company said.

Ford also told the news agency that it takes electronic security seriously.

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