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Why Car Hacking Is Good for All of Us

If you’re holding this book, you may already know why you’d want to hack cars. But just in case, here’s a handy list detailing the benefits of car hacking.

Understanding How Your Vehicle Works

The automotive industry has churned out some amazing vehicles, with complicated electronics and computer systems, but it has released little information about what makes those systems work. Once you understand how a vehicle’s network works and how it communicates within its own system and outside of it, you’ll be better able to diagnose and troubleshoot problems.

Working on Your Vehicle’s Electrical Systems

As vehicles have evolved, they’ve become less mechanical and more electronic. Unfortunately, automotive electronics systems are typically closed off to all but the dealership mechanics. While dealerships have access to more information than you as an individual can typically get, the auto manufacturers themselves outsource parts and require proprietary tools to diagnose problems. Learning how your vehicle’s electronics work can help you bypass this barrier.

Modifying Your Vehicle

Understanding how vehicles communicate can lead to better modifications, like improved fuel consumption and use of third-party replacement parts. Once you understand the communication system, you can seamlessly integrate other systems into your vehicle, like an additional display to show performance or a third-party component that integrates just as well as the factory default.

Discovering Undocumented Features

Sometimes vehicles are equipped with features that are undocumented or simply disabled. Discovering undocumented or disabled features and utilizing them lets you use your vehicle to its fullest potential. For example, the vehicle may have an undocumented “valet mode” that allows you to put your car in a restricted mode before handing over the keys to a valet.

Validating the Security of Your Vehicle

As of this writing, vehicle safety guidelines don’t address malicious electronic threats. While vehicles are susceptible to the same malware as your desktop, automakers aren’t required to audit the security of a vehicle’s electronics. This situation is simply unacceptable: we drive our families and friends around in these vehicles, and every one of us needs to know that our vehicles are as safe as can be. If you learn how to hack your car, you’ll know where your vehicle is vulnerable so that you can take precautions and be a better advocate for higher safety standards.

Helping the Auto Industry

The auto industry can benefit from the knowledge contained in this book as well. This book presents guidelines for identifying threats as well as modern techniques to circumvent current protections. In addition to helping you design your security practice, this book offers guidance to researchers in how to communicate their findings.

 

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