A group of University of Michigan researchers recently presented findings of experiments showing how easy it is to hack into a class 8 truck’s electronic system and control its acceleration, braking functions and other vehicle controls.
“An Experimental Analysis of the SAE J1939 Standard,” published by Yelizaveta Burakova, Bill Hass, Leif Millar, and Andre Weimerskirch of the University of Michigan, was presented in Texas at 10th Usenix Workshop on Offensive Technologies.
The study reportedly shows how the openness of the SAE J1939 standard used across all US heavy vehicle industries is at risk for attacks across most makes models. The researchers were able to remotely change the readout of the truck’s instrument panel, trigger unintended acceleration, or to even disable one form of semi-trailer’s brakes.
Researchers found that it was actually easier to hack a truck’s computer system than with consumer cars.
While communications networks on consumer vehicles tend to be proprietary to the OEM, “deciphering consumer vehicle network traffic involves the tedious process of reverse engineering any messages observed on the bus to determine their function.”