White hat hacker shows vulnerability in GM's OnStar system

GM OnStar vehicles at risk.

Published Thu, Jul 30 2015 2:38 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:05 PM CST

White hat hacker Samy Kamkar recently posted a video discussing how he found a way to "locate, unlock and remote-start" General Motors vehicles by compromising the OnStar vehicle communications system.

Using the gadget, which cost around $100 to make, the system makes it possible to locate, unlock, and start the engine. Once a small wireless device has been placed near a GM car with OnStar, Kamkar was able to gain unauthorized access to the vehicle.

Dubbed the "OwnStar" system, Kamkar showed he was able to intercept communication from the OnStar service and OnStar RemoteLink mobile app. Technical details will be revealed during Def Con next week.

Not surprisingly, GM said a fix "has already been implemented," following a closer look at Kamkar's research.

This news comes shortly after hackers showed Wired how they are able to compromise a Jeep's connected infotainment system. Fiat Chrysler issued a recall of 1.4 million vehicles due to the security incident.

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An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog, AlamedaTech.com, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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