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In one case in point demonstrating the hack, the experts geolocated a target auto, tracked it in real time, followed it, remotely killed the engine and forced the automobile to avoid, then unlocked the doors. The experts said it had been “trivially convenient” to hijack a vulnerable automobile. Worse, it had been possible to recognize some car models, producing targeted hijacks or high-end vehicles even better. According with their findings, the researchers also found they can listen in about the in-car microphone, built-in within the Pandora alarm system to make calls to the crisis services or roadside assistance. Ken Munro, founder of Pen Test out Companions, told TechCrunch this is their “biggest” project.
The researchers contacted both Pandora and Viper with a seven-moment disclosure period, given the severe nature of the vulnerabilities. Both businesses responded quickly to repair the flaws. When reached, Viper’s Chris Pearson confirmed the vulnerability has been fixed. “If used for malicious uses, [the flaw] could let customer’s accounts to get accessed without authorization.” Viper blamed a recently available system update by a good service agency for the bug and said the problem was “quickly rectified.”
“Directed [which owns Viper] believes that no consumer data was uncovered and that no accounts were accessed without authorization through the short period this vulnerability existed,” said Pearson, but presented no evidence to the way the company found that conclusion. In an extended email, Pandora’s Antony Noto challenged many of the researcher’s findings, summated: “The system’s encryption had not been cracked, the remotes where not hacked, [and] the tags were not cloned,” he said. “A software glitch allowed momentary access to these devices for a brief period of time, which includes now been addressed.”
The research follows work this past year by Vangelis Stykas on the Calamp, a telematics provider that serves as the foundation for Viper’s cellular app. Stykas, who afterwards joined Pen Test Companions and in addition worked on the car alarm project, found the application was applying credentials hardcoded in the iphone app to log in to a central database, which provided anyone who logged in handy remote control of a connected vehicle.