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The National Freight Vehicle Traffic Association organized a demonstration to prioritize the protection of tractor-trailer systems.

On October 24, the National Freight Vehicle Traffic Association (NMFTA) organized a wireless hacking demonstration to exemplify how someone could take advantage of the vulnerabilities of cargo trailers and trailers.

At its Cybersecurity Digital Solutions Conference, NMFTA provided a demonstration for the event with a United Petroleum Transports tanker truck that was located several blocks from the main conference site. Ben Gardiner, senior cybersecurity research engineer at NMFTA, who carried out the demonstration, said the hack was performed using a relatively inexpensive setup.

The hacking attempt carried out by Gardiner focused on the trailer brakes, allowing audible information to be obtained that the objective had been achieved. The trailer brakes began making a regular, high-pitched sound shortly after the hack began as they discharged their pneumatic air supply.

He also pointed out that the hack used the trailer’s electrical network, which functions as a wireless interface despite not having been designed for it. This means that a hacker could attack a truck wirelessly without using obvious methods such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Gardiner explained at the conference that for the demonstration a very simple antenna was used and cables were attached to nearby traffic cones, in order to carry out the attack on the tractor-trailer with the help of a 50-volt power amplifier that It ran at a power of around 15 W. This hack had an estimated cost of $300, demonstrating how simple it can be to carry out in real life.

He highlighted that hackers could also use mobile equipment to assault moving vehicles from further away, sending arbitrary data to all devices on the power grid: trailer, tractor and telematics.

The NMFTA noted that trailer brakes feature converter chips, the code of which is based on technologies from decades past that originally did not require authentication or authorization. This technology has been present on trailers nationwide since 2001 and is expected to remain in effect for the next tractor-trailer interface standard.

With this demonstration, fleets are expected to prioritize firewalls and other mechanisms to protect their truck systems.


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