In a broad-reaching report by 60 Minutes about DARPA and the Internet of Things, the Department of Defense has shown that it can hack General Motors' OnStar system to remote control a last-gen Chevrolet Impala.
DARPA has a budget of around half a billion dollars a year and its Information Innovation Office is headed by Dan Kaufman, who employs a team of researchers that focus on increasing national security through revolutionary projects. One of those projects involves hacking the connected car, and this is what they found:
According to the report, which is scant on technical details, DARPA engineers dialed in through the Impala's OnStar system, transmitted a data packet that confused the internal computers, and then planted a malicious bit of code that allowed it to reprogram control systems on the ECU.
That allowed them to do everything from turn on the windshield wipers to honk the horn, and even controll the throttle and brakes, putting a hapless Lesley Stahl through a line of cones.
The piece from 60 Minutes, which doesn't exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to automotive reporting (and more), is bolstered by a report from the office of Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. The report, due out tomorrow, supposedly states that all new cars can be hacked and that, according to 60 Minutes, "only two out of 16 car makers can diagnose or respond to an infiltration in real-time."
We're waiting to get our hands on the report from Senator Markey's office and have reached out to DARPA for more details on how the OnStar vulnerability was exploited. GM has yet to respond to a request for comment.
You can watch the full story from 60 Minutes here.