Researchers have found how tech advancements can pose a threat to car security. Recently, they discovered numerous vulnerabilities in the recently launched Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system. Exploiting these vulnerabilities in the infotainment system could allow hacking the vehicle.

Vulnerabilities In Mercedes-Benz System

Researchers from the Tencent Security Keen Lab have found multiple security vulnerabilities in the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system in cars.

Mercedez-Benz launched the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) in 2018 that had remained unscrutinized by the cybersecurity community.

Thus, the researchers carried out a detailed study of the system and found numerous security flaws triggering hacking attacks. They have shared their findings in a detailed white paper.

Specifically, they found multiple attack surfaces including JavaScript engine, Bluetooth stack, WiFi chip, USB functions, and third-party apps in the head unit – the infotainment ECU. Through these, an adversary could exploit the flaws for remote code execution, local privilege escalation, heap overflow exploit, denial-of-service, bypass anti-theft mechanism, and take control of the target system.

According to the researchers, exploiting these flaws could allow real-time attacks on vehicles as well as on segregated head units. Regarding their findings, they stated,

We demonstrated how to send arbitrary CAN messages from T-Box and bypass the code signing mechanism to fash a custom SH2A MCU firmware by utilizing the vulnerability we found in SH2A firmware on a debug version T-Box.

In brief, the researchers injected TCP packets through the CAN bus to give various commands to the vehicle, such as opening or closing of the ambient light, the driver reading light, the passenger reading light, the back-seat passenger light, or opening the sunshade cover.

They also made some unsuccessful hacking attempts that they also have described in the white paper.

Security Fixes Released

For their study, the researchers analyzed separate head unit and T-Box in a test bench scenario alongside assessing the A200L model 2019.

After finding these bugs, the researchers reached out to the car vendor to report the flaws.

Consequently, Mercedes-Benz began patching the vulnerabilities in January 2021. And now, the researchers have disclosed their report publicly.

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