Carduino: the best open-source hacking tool for cars

Now is the time for your personal car to become the next hacking victim. We are now entering the era of Internet of Things (IoT), a connected world of consumers and devices. The modern cars slide lightly but steadily in the world of Internet of Things with the Carduino minicomputer designed to manipulate and take the control over any modern car.

This is how it looks the Carduino V9

Do you want to unlock your car with your smartphone across the Internet or change the commands of steering wheel buttons? You need a bit of hardware such as Carduino to talk to your car.

The Carduino is an open-source device developed by CarKnow founder Josh Siegel in the MIT labs. The project was born from a simple idea to let developers build applications that work with CAN commands. The result is a device that lets the owner to work and change the features of the car.

The name of the minicomputer – Carduino – remembers me by the open-source Arduino microcontroller. But only the name links these two prototyping platforms. The power of Carduino device is closer to a smartphone than an Arduino microcontroller.

The credit-card sized device is plugged into an automobile diagnostics port and allows attaching a wide range of tools. Nothing is secure, especially a device connected to the Internet. Security is another concern because, once connected to what we call Internet of Things, these cars become more vulnerable to hackers. But Siegel says that the device is designed to run only for a white list of commands.

Another problem is the CAN bus (for controller area network), which is a standard available on most cars built since 2004. The problems become more complicated if each manufacturer sends messages in its own way, a scenario that can vary from car to car.

In the right hands, anyone can be a hacker for its own car by adding, for example, parking assistance, a video camera, or plug the car into the internet. But till then, we have to wait the Carduino until next year when will be available on the market. About the price, Siebel says that will have a cost about as much as a smartwatch.


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