How an MP3 can be used to hack your car

March 17, 2011

Hackers could gain access to a vehicle’s computer systems remotely, security experts from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington have found.

In one example, cellphone hardware installed in luxury cars was attacked, allowing the team to inject malicious code into the car’s electronic controls. In theory, hackers could then sell the car to a thief, giving them its location and unlocking it remotely. The team also managed to take control of the car using a Trojan app on a phone that used an Android operating system and had been paired with the car’s Bluetooth system.

The researchers were able to show that software embedded in an MP3 file could install itself into the car’s firmware, enabling similar exploits to those above. If the car had a self-parking system, it could in theory be driven away by the hacker.