: Researchers able to hack TPMS wireless and mess with computer and track cars! WTF?

08-12-10, 07:04 PM

Researchers Hack Cars via Wireless Tire Pressure Sensors

by Caleb Johnson Aug 11th 2010 at 6:20PM
Researchers hack into car's tire pressure computer.
Back in May, we told you about a study that proved it's fairly easy to remotely hack into a car's onboard computer. Now, according to Technology Review, researchers at the University of South Carolina and Rutgers University have figured out how to hack into the tire-pressure-monitoring systems (TPMS) featured on many vehicles. The researchers used easy-to-find equipment that cost about $1,500 -- including a programmable radio transmitter, a specialized circuit board and free software -- to remotely hack the TPMS. By doing so, they could trigger warning lights by altering wireless communications, and remotely track the vehicle wherever it went, due to the fact that each TPMS features a unique ID.

In and of themselves, these findings, which will be presented at a security conference in Washington, D.C. this week, don't pose a huge threat to drivers. The troubling part is the bigger picture; it appears that more and more evidence supports the idea that the wireless computer systems featured on most vehicles are greatly lacking in security. These built-in computer systems have made driving both more pleasurable and safer, but, as with any industry, technological change should never outpace security or safety

08-12-10, 07:12 PM
i doubt any tire pressure monitor has the strength to send a radio wave very far... hell with my summer tires with TPS in the garage, they wont even pick it up.

08-12-10, 08:17 PM
Welccome to a world filled with uniquely identified active and passive radio devices.

As a threat to your money and your privacy however, actively transmitting TPMS devices are the least of your concerns. Cars move, and the TMPS transmitters have very limited range monitored by a system with an intentionally delayed reaction--short delay but still enough that you won't have to worry about driving past a nasty hacker who for some reason wants to produce a low air pressure warning.

Granted, a VERY closely spaced network of such devices could track your movements but to what nefarious purpose?

If you are the paranoid type you need look no further than the NSA and your cell phone. Location is not private information unless you are a Submariner in silent mode when you just may collide with another playing the same silent game.