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© CANtact General | March 27, 2015

Hack your car for $60 using CANtact

Remember a while back when my colleague wrote about a 14 year-old who hacked his way into a car using USD 15 worth of equipment? Well, for the one not as tech-savvy as the teenager there's the CANtact.
CANtact is an open source Controller Area Network (CAN) to USB interface for your computer. Which means you can connect it to any CAN enabled car using a standard OBD-II cable.

The open source board is the brainchild of Eric Evenchick – who describes himself as a developer of hardware, firmware, and software for all sorts of applications – which connects one end to a USB port on your computer, and the other to a car/truck via the PBD2 port, a network port under the dashboard. The little credit card sized board will run for about USD 60, which makes it a rather cheap interface between a PC and a vehicle’s CAN bus, writes Wired.

So with this pocketsized gadget – and the open source software which Evenchick is also releasing – hacking a car will be a lot cheaper and a much more automated process for anyone, amateurs especially.

“I realized that there were no good tools for me to play around with this stuff outside of what the auto industry uses, and those are incredibly expensive,” Evenchick told Wired.

Car hacking is a potential real security threat, something that researchers have shown over the last couple of years. For instance; it is possible to send commands from a laptop connected to a car’s CAN bus which affect steering and flooring the brakes.

However – of maybe thankfully – The CANtact can only test security exploits that require physical access, not remote attacks., the report continues.

And Evenchick has a point when saying that the more testing and attention a car system receives, the more secure it will eventually become.

“You don’t really own a device until you can open it up and tear it apart,” he told Wired.

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