Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Question for Automotive/Engineering Wizards. Car Computers
11.24.12 | Chickensoup

Posted on 11/24/2012 6:24:43 PM PST by Chickensoup

So, I am looking at a new car. Perhaps the VW diesel. I drive the car and find that I am staring at computer screens. The car must have a full pc under the hood. I am told now that most do.

And I understand that for some reason beyond my understanding the cars now have wifi.

When I purchase a computer I get in there and disable, uninstall and delete items I don’t use like games…extra os and tools I won’t use.

So how do I turn off the garbage that is extra on a new car? Like Wifi? I certainly do not want my car broadcasting anything to the world?

What are people doing out there with these new cars?

Insight would be appreciated.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: car; chat; computer; vanity
So, I am looking at a new car. Perhaps the VW diesel. I drive the car and find that I am staring at computer screens. The car must have a full pc under the hood. I am told now that most do.

And I understand that for some reason beyond my understanding the cars now have wifi.

When I purchase a computer I get in there and disable, uninstall and delete items I don’t use like games…extra os and tools I won’t use.

So how do I turn off the garbage that is extra on a new car? Like Wifi? I certainly do not want my car broadcasting anything to the world?

What are people doing out there with these new cars?

Insight would be appreciated.

1 posted on 11/24/2012 6:24:48 PM PST by Chickensoup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup

LOL.....technology shock; that’s all you are experiencing if you haven’t bought a car in a while. Don’t let the gadgetry intimidate you. Much of it is highly useful; some of it....not so much. Well designed cars have such systems with a wealth of information. Others....again, not so much. GPS, satellite radio, backup cameras....all nice. Bluetooth so you can pair your phone (use hands free), etc....not bad, but I don’t use that. Just know there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it it’s really not that bad.

What it really means is the nail in the coffin of the shade tree mechanic.


2 posted on 11/24/2012 6:31:43 PM PST by RightOnline (I am Andrew Breitbart!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup

The Wi-Fi is very likely a subscription service, requiring active participation on your part. For example, the car could connect to your smartphone via bluetooth and then serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This would require you to actively connect and permit this connection via your smartphone.

What bothers me, to no small degree - is this opens your car to a variety of malicious attacks. A car hacker could potentially create a virus that would propagate through the Wi-FI, and infect other cars. If your car’s network is connected to the security system, or the engine/transmission controllers - a malicious hacker could cause your car to shut down, or could hack into the Wi-Fi and set it to unlock with his personal fob - thereby bypassing your key and locking system.

This whole idea of incorporating wireless connectivity and merging this network into an automobile is wrought with peril.

Some ideas are neat; for example the idea of purchasing “Upgrades” via software for your car/transmission (say, winter driving transmission settings dictated by season, exterior temperature, local weather road reports and GPS position) are very neat. But the question I do not know the answer to, is how well is the individual car protected from malicious software. Could a malicious hacker cause your engine to go to full power, the transmission to lock in drive, and lock your steering wheel? Essentially turning your car in to a ballistic weapon? I simply don’t know.


3 posted on 11/24/2012 6:34:32 PM PST by Hodar (A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.- Burroughs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hodar

I hear what you are saying about the attacks. But from what I understand there is a wifi component already in place. i would want that off!


4 posted on 11/24/2012 6:37:11 PM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: RightOnline
"GPS, satellite radio, backup cameras....all nice. Bluetooth so you can pair your phone (use hands free), etc."

I INSISTED that our new SUV come with all that stuff, or we weren't buying. The one we were looking at didn't have the 'computer' on board. I had them order/install one(for like $3,000). Backup cam still shows on the mirror though.(prefer it there anyway). The SUV we were trading in had all those features, and there was no way in hell I was gonna buy another one without them. I don't use the Bluetooth either. I can see how it would be nice for those who would though.

5 posted on 11/24/2012 6:41:32 PM PST by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup

You’re talking about Autonet Mobile. The car does not come with wifi just wifi capability, unless there is a free trial period like for instance with XM Satellite radio. You’d have to subscribe.


6 posted on 11/24/2012 6:47:57 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
What are people doing out there with these new cars?

For us, we are ignoring them. For the same reasons we ignore all the airhead smartphone crap. Fashion statements for the pierced generation.

My ten year old Subaru has a digital clock. That is as far as it needs to go. I do fiddle with the engine CPU for more power of course..............

7 posted on 11/24/2012 7:08:54 PM PST by doorgunner69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: doorgunner69

You have a turbo or nonturbo? Those Cobb AccessPort ECM modules are nice, five programs, switchable pretty much on the fly if the gas in your tank is up to it, from economy mode on regular unleaded with turbo boost disabled up to I believe 325 hp on 110 octane racing gas. You’d need a catback exhaust to make the most of it, Subaru boxer engines sound good with the right catback. I’ve got an 07 Legacy GT Limted wagon, it’s a fun and practical car. Friends on ski patrol had them in college, I liked them but it never entered my mind to buy one until this car.


8 posted on 11/24/2012 7:25:10 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
I have a late model German car that's loaded with technology.Much of it I specifically wanted...safety features,audio system particularly.You needn't fear the technology.It might take a while to master it but it's excellent.

For example,my car has a feature...which was optional and I *very* much wanted...that fully applies the brakes when sensors in the front of the car detect that a collision is imminent.

9 posted on 11/24/2012 7:39:57 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
And BTW...I don't know how much you know about diesels but if you know little or nothing (which is true of the typical American) all I can say is that they're outstanding.Mileage is amazing,torque is too.I'm on my second one and will never again drive anything else.
10 posted on 11/24/2012 7:44:13 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry
It's an 02 WRX. I use open source maps and a Tactrix adapter to program the ECU. No wild mods, just dumped the up-pipe cat, and the downpipe cat with a divorced wastegate pipe. Was my daily driver for years, now I do not have to worry about smog checks, I uncorked it a bit. Progarmeed for about 18 psi boost, a major hit over the stock 12-13 psi. Much more and I would be into bigger injectors and the endless circus. My last car hopefully so I cannot get crazy.

Reality is, big power in Hawaii is not of much use anyway, other than embarrassing Harley clowns..........

11 posted on 11/24/2012 7:48:07 PM PST by doorgunner69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: doorgunner69

There was a period in the early-mid 2000’s when the usually very competent Subaru engineers inadvertantly blew a lot of turbos, good thing you dumped the up-pipe cat, as they age you can suck chunks of it into the turbo, boom.

Mine is largely stock barring the mods described, daily driver, just wanted to smooth it out and get the most out of the engine and turbo without making a beast of it. Exterior appearance is dead stock, factory 18” rims, low profile Contis. No suspension mods, I actually enjoy the cushiness of the soft bushings while still being well planted to the road, it’s an almost French approach to a car suspension, lol. It can get a little roly-poly at high speed (meaning very extralegal) but I have no need and little occasion so that’s OK.


12 posted on 11/24/2012 8:01:28 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Hodar; Chickensoup
RE :"What bothers me, to no small degree - is this opens your car to a variety of malicious attacks. A car hacker could potentially create a virus that would propagate through the Wi-FI, and infect other cars. If your car’s network is connected to the security system, or the engine/transmission controllers - a malicious hacker could cause your car to shut down, or could hack into the Wi-Fi and set it to unlock with his personal fob - thereby bypassing your key and locking system.
This whole idea of incorporating wireless connectivity and merging this network into an automobile is wrought with peril
.

I have seen this before:


13 posted on 11/24/2012 8:18:10 PM PST by sickoflibs (Dems go for actually winning where-as Rs make believe they are winning when they are losing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
There a rule in tshooting broke hitech things..the harder the problem is to find the dumber the causes is. ....................

If the wifi bugs you get the electrical manual and ground out the antenna leads with a jumper wire...its easy to break hi tech with lo tech

14 posted on 11/24/2012 8:30:47 PM PST by tophat9000 (American is Barack Oaken)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry
First mod I did while still in SoCal was gut the cat out of a spare up-pipe. Lots of stories about the cat disintegrating even in the first year of the new WRX.

A lot to be said for starting with 2.5l and all that torque rather than wringing the neck of a 2.0l. Too many horror stories about blown transmissions, pistons, bearings. Yet another reason I am staying at my boost level. Think Subaru learned a lot from the early 2.0l cars, maybe why the STI showed up as a 2.5l from the start.

A STI would be great fun, though where I am now, a Jeep 4WD would be more useful as a plaything to go explore roads I dare not take the WRX, AWD or not. Of course the wife would never let her 4Runner touch rocks or dirt, and it is 2WD to boot.

15 posted on 11/24/2012 8:50:51 PM PST by doorgunner69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: doorgunner69

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a distress sale for a 2.5 version of one of these,

http://www.JPS-motorsports.com/turnkey.html

Sort of a pipe dream for that sort of toy unless and until the economy turns around and I can start my business back up though. I honestly don’t see it happening any time soon.

Wouldn’t a turbo 2.5 be stupid fast in that light of a car, lol?


16 posted on 11/24/2012 9:43:43 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
The VW trubo-diesel is an amazing machine. Great fuel economy and they run forever, needing little or nothing. Best bet on installed options is to check with the dealer and see what they can switch off while the car is connected to the diagnostics computer. There are often soft switches that the factory people have access to.
17 posted on 11/24/2012 9:56:45 PM PST by Colorado Doug (Now I know how the Indians felt to be sold out for a few beads and trinkets)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: doorgunner69

:-) my business is built around selling all that equipment for reprogramming & diagnostics. Including the Tactrix and the AccessPort items mentioned in the thread. Very neat stuff


18 posted on 11/24/2012 11:17:21 PM PST by Lloyd227 (Class of 1998 (let's all help the Team McCain spider monkeys decide how to moderate))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
High tech car? What could possibly go wrong? link

Another brilliant manufacturer offers "on the fly" firmware updates over the air. Really cool when your car starts an update in the middle of the night when you're driving across the desert. Somebody forgot to check to see if the vehicle was being operated before doing the upgrade.

You're about to enter a whole new world have having bad guys trying to hack your car as well as incompetent manufacturers dropping bad updates on your very expensive new toy.

19 posted on 11/25/2012 12:45:21 AM PST by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
High tech car? What could possibly go wrong? link

Another brilliant manufacturer offers "on the fly" firmware updates over the air. Really cool when your car starts an update in the middle of the night when you're driving across the desert. Somebody forgot to check to see if the vehicle was being operated before doing the upgrade.

You're about to enter a whole new world have having bad guys trying to hack your car as well as incompetent manufacturers dropping bad updates on your very expensive new toy.

20 posted on 11/25/2012 12:45:36 AM PST by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
My approach? I'm moving back. My next car will be a 1986 model year version of the '96 car I presently drive, and as a backup, the 1981 240d. There is an indescribably good feeling that comes with the knowledge your car has NO computers, and you can pretty much fix almost anything yourself with the tools in the trunk.

Not long ago I met a man in a marina who needed help with his twin diesels. I enjoy working on diesels and went to help him out. The problem was the "ECU" - the electronic control unit that controlled everything. A $3000 black box. To make a long story short it was simply replaced by the dealer... This was a brand new 54' boat. But... What the hell do you do when your "ECU" fails 200 miles offshore? Huh?
21 posted on 11/25/2012 1:18:21 AM PST by golux
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Colorado Doug

Thank you. I just dont want a broadcasting car.


22 posted on 11/25/2012 6:03:01 AM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Myrddin

That is my question. How do I turn that capability off. How would they do it? Would the car be broadcasting?


23 posted on 11/25/2012 6:11:49 AM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: golux

I agree with you, but I need to have a high MPG car. I have been looking at SAABS although a small mercedes diesel woudl be a great backup.


24 posted on 11/25/2012 6:13:50 AM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup

The real question is can you buy a car specifically asking that this stuff not be installed.

Do the “Base” modles come with out it.

I had to do a special order on my 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 dump to get manual locks, manual windows, a 6 speed manual trans, and rubber floor, with AM/FM and one CD player.

They looked at me like I was from Mars.

The more computer stuff they put in the more the Gov’t will track you for more taxes etc...

I hope there will be a way to disable any “BlackBox” things they will start puting in cars (if they have not already started doing so). Next will be taxes by the mile.


25 posted on 11/25/2012 7:25:41 AM PST by CapnJack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hodar

The wifi function and the other functions handled by the car’s on-board computer are in no way connected. Your car’s on-board computer is safe from being “hacked” by some hacker coming in through the wifi. Its like saying you have a computer in your basement, which is not connected to any other computer, will catch a virus from a computer you have upstairs on the internet. Moreover, even if they were connected, they use specialized chips to store their programming on, which are known by various acronyms, i.e. EEPROM, (Electronically Eraseable Programmable Read Only Memory) and various permutations of these kinds of chips, which CANNOT be reprogrammed remotely.

The on-board computers are really a good way for the shade-tree mechanic to diagnose complex problems. For a 100 - 300 dollar investment, you can get the hardware necessary to connect directly to your car’s onboard computer. No more check engine lights, etc. The VW computers are really light years beyond most other cars, and are invaluable for me, when I want to find out what is wrong with my car. They aren’t all that difficult to use, and the companies that make the software/cables make it easy for you to understand what everything means. If you by a VW, I highly recommend you get a connection to your computer, as you will need it to do something as basic as changing your brakes.


26 posted on 11/25/2012 7:38:03 AM PST by krogers58 ( The)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup

Google the words ... hack car ECU 2012

Here’s one of the results, written just 3 months ago: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9229919/Car_hacking_Remote_access_and_other_security_issues

Good luck. Many people share your viewpoint/concern.


27 posted on 11/25/2012 7:44:03 AM PST by Nita Nupress
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: krogers58

I know, I bought my automobile computer on Ebay for just over $50. The plug is supposed to be “universal” and works on every vehicle I own (Toyota Tacoma and Accura TL).

As far as being “impossible”, I beg to disagree. If the car is communicating to the car computer through the I2C or CAN bus. The CAN bus handles things such as timing, gas/air mixtures and when the transmission should shift. By virtue of the car computer giving this information to a central processing unit - the bus is open. There is no SECURE transaction on the CAN bus - there is no SUPERVISOR mode in a CAN bus transaction. Thus, by virtue of the CAN bus tying into the network - the network is vulnerable. One must ASSUME there is some firewall between the USER interface and the CAN bus. However, I have seen nothing in the bus protocols or interface circuits that state such a device is in existence.

http://canbuskit.com/what.php


28 posted on 11/25/2012 11:11:53 AM PST by Hodar (A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.- Burroughs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup

After you’ve driven about six hours in a Jaguar XJ6, there just isn’t really any other car that will ever compare.


29 posted on 11/25/2012 12:49:50 PM PST by golux
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: golux

Chickensoup

After you’ve driven about six hours in a Jaguar XJ6, there just isn’t really any other car that will ever compare.
___________________________________

I am so sure you are right that I am totally open to you giving me one tomorrow. I will give it a good home.


30 posted on 11/25/2012 3:31:57 PM PST by Chickensoup (Leftist Totalitarian Fascism coming to a country like yours.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Chickensoup
The cars with WiFi typically have a very weak transceiver. Just enough to work inside the car. They need an external carrier e.g. 4g LTE or similar offering to be internet connected --or-- a Bluetooth sharing of the connection to your own phone.

You'll have to start with contacts at your car dealer to see what can or can't be turned off. If you have a Linux PC, you can hookup to your WLAN and start with an "nmap" scan against the default route offered by the router. You can also get a copy of "nessus" to have a quick look. Securing the WLAN with WPA2 encryption with a long, complex password coupled with turning off SSID broadcast will help hide the presence of the WiFi in the car. Adding a MAC filter to only allow specific devices to connect is useful too. That's the first line defense. Turning off unnecessary services exposed by nmap/nessus also reduces your attack surface.

31 posted on 11/25/2012 8:13:21 PM PST by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Hodar
I agree with your assessment on the CAN bus. A simple CAN USB will hook you up to the bus just fine. I used these devices for my railroad devices using a CANOpen protocol. They are protocol agnostic. You may want an OBM2 connector to get to your vehicle bus. The stock connector on the CAN-USB is the DB9M. See link for wiring details.

At Wingcast, we did fun stuff like flashing headlights, honking horns, unlocking doors and monitoring the GPS. I could also initiate an outbound phone call. Most of that was SCP (Standard Corporate Protocol) a Ford variant of J1850. The MCP variant ran on the entertainment equipment. The safety engineer asked if the display on the radio could be used to display a scrolling message. He returned from lunch and I had "Attention K-Mart Shoppers" scrolling by. That immediately became a prohibited feature :-)

Some vehicles have remote start capability hooked into the fieldbus with remote radio access from a service center.

32 posted on 11/25/2012 8:44:37 PM PST by Myrddin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson