A pair of well-known software hackers plan to publically release information on how to hack into the computer systems of two popular vehicles, the Ford Escape and the Toyota Prius. It’s at this year’s Def Con convention in Las Vegas that Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller will reveal vulnerabilities that could lead to all sorts of in-car problems.
Valasek and Miller claim to be able to force a Prius to brake at 80 mph and cause it to veer from side to side and accelerate – all without driver input. Furthermore, they say they can disable the brakes on an Escape while it is traveling at very low speeds regardless of how much the driver attempts to stop the vehicle.
Fortunately, a hacker would have to physically be inside the vehicle to gain access to its computer.
The two plan to release their methods and software used in the hopes of getting auto makers to patch the vulnerabilities before someone with malicious intent is able to gain access. What’s more, they hope to encourage other hackers to find security flaws on their own and report them for the same reasons.
A spokesperson for Toyota said they were looking into the pair’s work. Craig Daitch from Ford Motor Company, however, seemingly didn’t take the vulnerabilities too seriously. He said the particular attack was not performed remotely over the air but instead as a highly aggressive direct physical manipulation of the vehicle over a long period of time. As such, it would not be a risk to customers at any mass level.