"Remember, Andy," Miller had said through my i Phone's speaker just before I pulled onto the Interstate 64 on-ramp, "no matter what happens, don't panic."Charlie Miller, left, a security researcher at Twitter, and Chris Valasek, director of Vehicle Security Research at IOActive, have exposed the security vulnerabilities in automobiles by hacking into cars remotely, controlling the cars' various controls from the radio volume to the brakes.
Photographed on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 in Ladue, Mo. As I frantically pressed the pedal and watched the RPMs climb, the Jeep lost half its speed, then slowed to a crawl.
I followed Miller's advice: I didn't panic.
"From an attacker's perspective, it's a super nice vulnerability," Miller says.
From that entry point, Miller and Valasek's attack pivots to an adjacent chip in the car's head unit—the hardware for its entertainment system—silently rewriting the chip's firmware to plant their code.
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.
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.
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.
And thanks to one vulnerable element, which Miller and Valasek won't identify until their Black Hat talk, Uconnect's cellular connection also lets anyone who knows the car's IP address gain access from anywhere in the country.
As I tried to cope with all this, a picture of the two hackers performing these stunts appeared on the car's digital display: Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, wearing their trademark track suits. The Jeep’s strange behavior wasn’t entirely unexpected. Louis to be Miller and Valasek's digital crash-test dummy, a willing subject on whom they could test the car-hacking research they'd been doing over the past year.