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Analysis of CAN Architecture

In 2016 there have been 261. 8 million vehicles registered as they are a pivotal area of the economy and peoples' each day lives. Autos were once all mechanically made with carburetors but after development of technology cars are now running from fuel injection. The difference between the two is a carburetor controls gas flow with mechanised pieces that allow a certain amount of fuel to mix with air to visit the cylinders and petrol injectors use a pressurized rail system managed by the computer with carious camshaft and crankshaft sensors.

In the 1980's cars started using computer systems called the Engine motor Control Unit( ECU's), which control basic main engine functions such as airflow, petrol and spark. You will discover ECUs in every car on the highway today because with some type of computer and a set of sensors, the ECU can dynamically tune the automobile live, increasing performance and lowering emissions. Cars do this with various sensors including Mass Air flow Sensors, temps sensors, O2 sensors pre and post catalytic converter. The difficult issue arises from the fact that we proceeded to go from computerizing basic components to computerizing everything. To understand the issue, look at the diagram below to go over some of things that an average ECU has control over.

Further increasing risk, vehicles now come with embedded Gps unit and cellular chipsets connecting the car to the exterior world. With everything interconnected, it would not be hard for a hacker to get access to the whole system through one point in in the machine.

The way these components communicate is through the CAN bus. The CAN bus is an extremely bad system when it comes to security because everything is broadcasted on the CAN, requested or not. That is so whenever a aspect needs information from another, it doesn't not need to ask for it, it is always broadcasting so its productive. Can you speculate why that is clearly a security issue?

I will now evaluate the CAN structures describing its design defects. The CAN protocol originated because before it was released, every computer aspect had to be connected with cables to each other, but with CAN bus, everything connected compared to that central bus and it reduced the wiring complexity conserving weight and money. Another reason for its development was for emissions control, and because data is often broadcasted on the CAN bus, the car can dynamically adapt fuel/air ratios to have the cleanest melt away with the least emissions. The CAN bus is actually proficient at what it is designed for, but it was never designed for security. The main security flaws that need to be tackled first are unencrypted traffic on the bus, lack of decoupling and segmentation and no authentication of devices. The major security flaw is the lack of encryption, but it was designed purposely such as this. It was meant to be light-weight and encrypting data would go against that, especially in the 80's when computing power was very gradual. Today this is a crucial flaw because the info can be sniffed. This might allow the hacker to sniff data packets, improve the CAN meaning and inject it back to the system. Another major flaw is having less decoupling and segmenting the CAN network. Since everything in the bus os linked to each other, it is possible to access the complete system through something like the infotainment system. This may be damaging because new vehicles have electronic driven steering and ECU controlled brakes. The past main flaw is usually that the CAN interface has no authentication way for attached devices, and therefore a hacker can spoof information and other areas of the ECU will behave. For instance, in case a hacker can spoof and transmit a brake sign on the CAN bus, the brakes will activate without the drivers' knowledge.

These are just some of the concerns I ran across during my evaluation, but has anyone exploited the CAN bus yet? The answer is yes and its been done multiple times by various research organizations.

In 2010 research workers from the guts for Automotive Embedded Systems Security released a paper entitled "Experimental Security Evaluation of a Modern Automobile". They exploited vulnerabilities and learned that it was possible to change a vehicle's functions by injecting spoofed instructions onto the CAN bus. They revealed that an attacker could disable the brakes, the engine, and change the speedometer ideals (Koscher et al. , 2010).

This research was dismissed by many because it's very improbable that someone would have a wired connection to the CAN bus. The team responded with a follow up research in 2011 with the diagram below. The electric bolts symbolize possible things of entry in to the CAN bus system. Then put focus on "Telematics" as those are ways to get gain access to wirelessly, dismissing the advertising and automakers cases that a connection isn't possible to a car without a cable.

more recently in 2015, Charlie Miller effectively exploited a Jeep Cherokee remotely and injected spoofed CAN instructions, without making any physical contact with the car. This was groundbreaking as it showed autos could be hacked from everywhere with an web connection. This was the first time an automaker possessed to take action, as the Fiat Chrysler Automotive group were required to recall more than 1. 3 million vehicles. Essentially what Miller did was that he exploited the vehicles infotainment system which governs press and cellular functions of the car. The mobile functions is what trapped Millers attention because it gave him a remote way into the car. From there he found out that the marketing communications system had a microcontroller linked to the CAN bus! This is his point of admittance, using this "door" he acquired access to everything connected to the CAN bus, which we have now know controls the whole car since everything in computerized. To access the automobile though, Miller had to exploit the vehicles cellular microcontroller, that was given by sprint. All he previously to do was slot scan and find an open up service port. According to sprint soon after they patched this bug, any sprint device with the capacity of 3g had usage of this service dock. Normally this slot is entirely interior, but sprint did not make its opportunity private. Because of this insect, he used a 3G sprint device linked to his laptop to remotely access the microcontroller and then your CAN bus. Equally as we discussed in class, there is absolutely no perfect system and there is absolutely no sole security solution. The suggested solution, although it might take a while to implement, would need to be encrypted data transmitting, hardware backed or not; Device authorization protocols so outside devices can't spoof CAN bus orders; And decoupling/segmentation of the CAN bus network. As professor Kathleen Fisher said, "the CAN bus is hopelessly insecure. it was developed decades before automobiles were linked to the Internet and lacks features to stop malware programs or reject instructions from unauthorized intruders. "

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