"When you lose faith that a car will do what you tell it to do," Miller observed at the time, "it really changes your whole view of how the thing works." Back then, however, their hacks had a comforting limitation: The attacker's PC had been wired into the vehicles' onboard diagnostic port, a feature that normally gives repair technicians access to information about the car's electronically controlled systems.A mere two years later, that carjacking has gone wireless.Their hack enables surveillance too: They can track a targeted Jeep's GPS coordinates, measure its speed, and even drop pins on a map to trace its route.All of this is possible only because Chrysler, like practically all carmakers, is doing its best to turn the modern automobile into a smartphone.Uconnect, an Internet-connected computer feature in hundreds of thousands of Fiat Chrysler cars, SUVs, and trucks, controls the vehicle's entertainment and navigation, enables phone calls, and even offers a Wi-Fi hot spot.
It’s the latest in a series of revelations from the two hackers that have spooked the automotive industry and even helped to inspire legislation; WIRED has learned that senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal plan to introduce an automotive security bill today to set new digital security standards for cars and trucks, first sparked when Markey took note of Miller and Valasek’s work in 2013. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume. 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.(Photo © Whitney Curtis for WIRED.com)As the two hackers remotely toyed with the air-conditioning, radio, and windshield wipers, I mentally congratulated myself on my courage under pressure. This occurred just as I reached a long overpass, with no shoulder to offer an escape. At that point, the interstate began to slope upward, so the Jeep lost more momentum and barely crept forward.Cars lined up behind my bumper before passing me, honking.