How an Apple security expert ‘bricked’ his brand new Jeep

“In addition to Apple devices, noted security expert and The Mac Hacker’s Handbook co-author Charlie Miller has carried out some fascinating (and potentially terrifying) research into hacking vehicles,” Luke Dormehl reports for Cult of Mac. “”

“Last year, alongside fellow hacker Chris Valasek, Miller demonstrated that it is possible to hijack the steering and brakes of a Ford Escape and Toyota Prius using only a laptop connected to the car,” Dormehl reports. “Having done that, he has now moved onto exploring vulnerabilities in other vehicles — including his new 2014 Cherokee jeep.”

“All that research comes at a high price, however, since Miller recently revealed on Twitter that he has managed to ‘brick’ his vehicle, after hacking the head unit,” Dormehl reports. “As he put it, ‘This is an expensive hobby.'”

Read more in the full article here.

19 Comments

        1. … the cars motor, infinitely! If you want to kill someone? Cutting the brakes and steering might be enough, boosting the speed would cap it. Just remember to do a reset just before the car leaves the highway.
          As noted … there are few (currently) capable of this.

      1. Don’t even need that, actually. Other researchers/hackers have demonstrated that it’s possible to hack a vehicle via the TPMS, which is wireless. You just have to be close enough to the vehicle.

  1. His day job: Dr. Charlie Miller is in charge of software security at Twitter.

    He’s one of the Mac hackers who drove Apple nuts circa 2007 onward by demonstrating a wide variety of security holes in Apple software. We can thank him, among others, for forcing Apple to get serious about security. Thank you Charlie! Sorry about the Jeep. 🙁

  2. A spare key fob for my Mercedes has to be programmed at the factory and costs $350. I found some people locally who can provide a spare for much less. The problem is that in order to do so they have to modify the car’s software to accept a foreign key. Not going there, nope. $350 sounds like a much better deal than trying to get a Mercedes ECU fixed after some hacker has screwed it up.

    1. Totally with you there. One of my Audi key fobs fell apart. I had to pay £100 just for an email request for a replacement via the dealer. Syncing the new key with the car cost a further £150…all plus 20% VAT. They made the pill slightly easier to swallow by valleting the car.
      Only later did I find out, the dealer had replacement keys in stock and could have done it all themselves since I bought the car from them!
      The so-called Apple Tax is nothing compared to this sort of rip-off.

      1. Absolutely agree with you. While I love my Mercedes for the driving experience and the amenities, they do extort their customers when it comes to maintenance. $200 for an oil change, when the only thing different about the process is removing the shrouding around the engine to get at the drain plug (and the fact that it uses 9 quarts of synthetic). That’s not really all that egregious for dealer maintenance, but $2400 for a pair of front shocks plus $130 per hour for installation is a bit much. I found the shocks for $600 for the pair on line, and an afternoon in my shop to install them is looking pretty good right now.

        1. Rubbish! My Ferrari F40 requires $14,000 just for tires, and since I enjoy doing burn outs on the governor’s drive at my summer mansion, I go through a set thrice per year. How fortunate though, that I had the foresight to include the 5-year service agreement on the Rolls Ghost, that’s costing me nothing, but true, I rarely drive it.

          1. Oh, sorry! I didn’t realize that we’re all supposed to be driving 1976 Pintos. I happen to be a car enthusiast. I’ve owned a lot of interesting cars. If you don’t like it I really couldn’t give a fuck less.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.