DIY Connected Car Hacking Tool Released with Open Source Software

Hacker/researcher George Holtz who was stopped from testing his self-driving autonomous car system, released a car reverse-engineering tool/hacking device, panda for $88.00. Although Holtz sees nothing wrong with reverse engineering cars, it can be very dangerous and we suggest that you don not “try this at home.”, a company founded by Holtz, is offering  software and hardware so that developers can use it to create their own car hacks and or see how car software operates.

Holtz claims panda “is the nicest universal car interface ever.” It supports 3 CAN, 2 LIN, and 1 GMLAN. It also charges a phone. On the computer side, it has both USB and Wi-Fi. He calls his systme “a way to get started car hacking to use panda and cabana from”

The company supplies open source software for the device that plugs into the OBDII port.

The panda device is compatbile with

  • chffr a cloud dashcam app. Besides helping to train self driving cars, it can record all the sensors from your car.
  • pandacan is a user space library for talking to a car over USB or Wi-Fi from Python. It allows full read/write access to all the CAN and LIN buses.
  • SocketCAN driver for SoccketCAN, the Linux standard for CAN interfaces. The included driver allows panda to work with all SocketCAN tools, including can-utils and Wireshark.
  • Openpilot, an source driving agent that can use panda to communicate with a car and control the gas, brake, and steering on supported vehicles.
  • cabana: CAN analysis tool is similar to CANalyzer that allows programs  to make sense of all the sensors and signals in a car.

The company plans support for J2534 on Windows and ELM327 emulation coming shortly. This will enable it to work with most manufacturer diagnostics tools and apps like Torque.

Please note that previous hackers such as Charlie Miller and Valesek ruined/fried an entire head unit on a car they were hacking. Since these tools have not been tested, you could ruin a perfrectly good car.