Introduction to car hacking with CANbus

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Troy, Michigan SAE International Classroom Seminar

Vehicle cybersecurity vulnerabilities could impact a vehicle's safe operation. Therefore, engineers should ensure that systems are designed free of unreasonable risks to motor vehicle safety, including those that may result due to existence of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

The automotive industry is making vehicle cybersecurity an organizational priority. Prioritizing vehicle cybersecurity also means learning about vehicle hacking techniques in order to ensure that systems will be reasonably safe under expected real-world conditions, including those that may arise due to potential vehicle cybersecurity vulnerabilities from hacking the CAN communications or OBD-II interface.

The automotive cybersecurity environment is dynamic and is expected to change continually and, at times, rapidly. Developing a basic understanding of car hacking can provide a good foundation for developing approaches to vehicle cybersecurity.

Attendees will be introduced to modern automotive in-vehicle communication networks, the CAN communications protocol and the OBD-II interface threat models, hacking into the OBD-II diagnostics interface, ECU cracking, and vehicle network cyber penetration testing. This course will cover existing in-vehicle communication protocols and associated vulnerabilities as well as the limitations of existing digital forensics.

A hands-on lab will be used to provide learning principles and experience of ECU hacking techniques and understand penetration testing for automotive CAN communications systems.

Learning Objectives

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the basics of cybersecurity
  • Determine SAE and other industry standards related to automotive cyber security
  • Identify basics of threat models for automotive systems
  • Acquire and analyze in-vehicle communication data
  • Hack ECUs
  • Use tools for vehicle anomaly detection


Participants should have a bachelor's degree in engineering, computer science or equivalent. A background or some experience with automotive electronics and vehicle systems is recommended.

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