Thieves Are Hacking Cars Through Headlights

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The wonders of modern technology!

We’ve covered before how thieves are using seemingly ordinary-looking devices to hack into cars’ CAN bus and start the engine without a key, but a new wave of reports is shining a light on this problem again. They’re actually referencing a story which broke back in January from the UK after a cybersecurity specialist had his Toyota RAV4 stolen after it was seemingly vandalized twice before.

Learn why young drivers are being called car theft magnets here.

The guy didn’t realize until the vehicle was gone those “vandalisms” were actually thieves unsuccessfully attempting to hack the CAN bus and get the vehicle unlocked and started. They had pulled off trim pieces around the headlight, pulling out cables which connect the headlight to the computer which control them.

That’s how you can have adaptive headlights and other advanced features on modern cars: everything is connected through the CAN bus or the Controller Area Network. Acting like the nervous system for a vehicle’s different systems, it connects ECUs so they can share information and coordinate responses to on-road conditions, etc. together.