Andy Greenburg of Wired.com agreed to serve as the guinea-pig-at-the-wheel as a pair of hackers demonstrated how they could take command of a Jeep Cherokee’s on-board computer system.
The hackers used the vehicle’s on-board wireless system to seize full control of the SUV, ultimately crashing it. All from a remote location.
Two hackers — former NSA employee Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek — warned about security risks in almost 500,000 cars built by Fiat Chrysler (which also owns the Jeep line).
Greenberg explains his experience in his Wired.com feature article:
“Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume. I spun the control knob left and hit the power button, to no avail. Then the windshield wipers turned on, and wiper fluid blurred the glass.
As I tried to cope with all this, a picture of the two hackers performing these stunts appeared on the car’s digital display: Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, wearing their trademark track suits. A nice touch, I thought.”
Miller and Valasek worked with Greenberg in the past as well; hacking into a Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius. Greenberg’s first experience back in 2013 is just now prompting government officials to endorse legislation regarding cyber-security for vehicles.