Hack any vehicle equipped with TPMS sensors

TPMS

A few days ago, almost by chance, one of those reports related to network security that usually hangs around the web fell into my hands. In this report, a large multinational company related to this type of study recounted how, after several weeks of research, one of its groups of engineers had detected how easy it can be to hack a car equipped with TPMS sensors.

To give you an idea of ​​how widespread this technology is, tell you that TPMS sensors are used by the vast majority of car brands in Europe so that, from inside the vehicle, in more exhaustive ways or less, depending on the car, this we warn when tire pressure drops. To carry out this work, these sensors emit a signal wirelessly that is received by the ECU of the vehicle in question and determines if its value is correct or not.

A cybersecurity team detects that the signal emitted by the TPMS sensors of any car is not encoded in any way

As is often the case with many of these systems developed a long time ago but it is now when they are beginning to reach almost all citizens, the signals sent by these TPMS sensors to the ECU do not have no coding so any receiving unit could capture this signal and establish usage patterns. After a few weeks of testing, the team of researchers found that it is possible, by simulating this signal, to make a vehicle believe that it is having problems with a tire, which would cause a warning light to come on inside the passenger compartment, or directly with the system believe that there is an error so it could even be the case that the vehicle enters safety mode and the maximum speed is limited.

The worst of all is that, by investigating a little more on the web, you can come to understand that this class of sensors are used by brands such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Jeep, Hyundai, Kia, Porsche, Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda , Citroën, Peugeot, Fiat ... and they already exist open source programs where you only need this software, a Raspberry Pi and a low-cost radio receiver of the RTL-SDR type that is available for less than 10 euros in the market.


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