Canada’s Department of National Defence plans to hire a hacker … to hack into its vehicles.
Concern over car hacking reached a fever pitch this summer after a Wired reporter let hackers take over the Jeep he was driving at highway speeds and remotely kill it. Some other recent hacks have shown that our vehicles are indeed vulnerable to nefarious interference.
“This is exploratory work in order to find out the extent to which this is a problem and how to mitigate any potential issues,” Defence Research and Development Canada tells Inverse in an emailed statement. DRDC’s mission is to provide government and the public “with the knowledge and technologies needed to defend and protect Canada’s interests at home and abroad.”
The Canadian military contract will have a hacker analyze the systems of a 2015 light-duty pick-up truck — they’re not releasing specifics on the truck to be hacked (where’s the fun in that?). They then must figure out where the vulnerabilities are and demonstrate how they can be hacked.
“Previous studies in this area were focused on cars and very few studies have been conducted on trucks. DRDC is trying to cover unexplored areas,” the statement says.
The project is being jointly funded by the military and Transport Canada, the federal transportation department.
A 2014 vehicle can have up to 100 computers on on board, running 60 million lines of code and exchanging 25 gigabytes of data every hour, according to the tender document.
Payment for the main work tasks is about $158,000 ($205,000 Canadian), with another $477,000 ($820,000 Canadian) possibly available for additional work as required and requested. Those extra tasks might include developing software to mitigate the potential for hacking.
The work will be completed by the Defence Research and Development Canada Valcartier Research Centre in Quebec City, with the vehicle and software supplied by the Department of National Defence.
“Cyber-attacks on information technologies like personal computers and servers usually result mostly in immaterial damages like the loss, the alteration or the theft of information or money, and the disruption of operation,” the DRDC said. “In the case of vehicular systems, cyber-attacks are a more important concern since the safety of their users or the other users on the road might be at stake.”
Interested? Proposals are due October 27.