A hacker has demonstrated just how easy it is to hack an electric car and take control of its systems.
Thankfully the hacker, Troy Hunt, is also a computer security researcher and he had no nefarious purposes in mind for the hacked car. Instead he was simply demonstrating, on his website, a simple method of hacking a Nissan Leaf from halfway around the world, the Daily Dot reports.
In a video posted on You Tube, Hunt sat outside in Australia and controlled the systems of a car parked in Northern England. Hunt then picked apart the trip information of the car’s owner, security researcher Scott Helme.
Hunt then used the Nissan’s iPhone app on his computer to take control of Helme’s car. He did all this by editing a few simple pieces of code within the app.
The Leaf’s security vulnerability allows hackers to seize control of the car’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system (HVAC system). Admittedly that doesn’t sound too bad, until you realise that the hackers could potentially switch all of these on while you’re not in your car, draining the battery and leaving you stranded.
— Silicon UK (@SiliconGB) February 25, 2016
It also gives hackers an awful lot of information as well, including power usage, drive state, and a username which could potentially contain personal information. To make matters worse, the identity of the hacker is kept completely anonymous.
Being a good citizen, Hunt let Nissan know about their security vulnerabilities and a spokeswoman for Nissan said it was tackling the problem.
Nissan is aware of a data issue relating to the NissanConnect EV app that impacts the climate control and state of charge functions.
It has no effect whatsoever on the vehicle’s operation or safety.
Well that’s something then, but in the meantime check out Troy’s blog to learn how to protect yourself.