Error Handling of In-vehicle Networks Makes Them Vulnerable

Abstract

Contemporary vehicles are getting equipped with an increasing number of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and wireless connectivities. Although these have enhanced vehicle safety and efficiency, they are accompanied with new vulnerabilities. In this paper, we unveil a new important vulnerability applicable to several in-vehicle networks including Control Area Network (CAN), the <i>de facto</i> standard in-vehicle network protocol. Specifically, we propose a new type of Denial-of-Service (DoS), called the <i>bus-off attack</i>, which exploits the error-handling scheme of in-vehicle networks to disconnect or shut down good/uncompromised ECUs. This is an important attack that must be thwarted, since the attack, once an ECU is compromised, is easy to be mounted on safety-critical ECUs while its prevention is very difficult. In addition to the discovery of this new vulnerability, we analyze its feasibility using actual in-vehicle network traffic, and demonstrate the attack on a CAN bus prototype as well as on two <i>real</i> vehicles. Based on our analysis and experimental results, we also propose and evaluate a mechanism to detect and prevent the bus-off attack.

DOI: 10.1145/2976749.2978302

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Cho2016ErrorHO, title={Error Handling of In-vehicle Networks Makes Them Vulnerable}, author={Kyong-Tak Cho and Kang G. Shin}, booktitle={ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security}, year={2016} }