Hack Your Car with Macchina

The Macchina M2 is an Arduino-based project that allows you to connect to your automobile’s computer and send/receive commands. This allows you to do simple tasks such as remotely unlocking your car to modifying your ECU ( electronic control unit ) to accept a different type of fuel.

The hardware itself is based on the Arduino Due and connects to your car through either the OBD2 ( On-board diagnostics Parameter ID ) connector under your dash or directly wired under the hood for a permanent installation. The M2 also has the ability to connect wirelessly via a DIGI XBee socket that can connect with GPS, GSM/3G/LTE, WiFi, BlueTooth, XBee, and Ethernet boards.

Being that it is based on Arduino this means that you can utilize already existing code, libraries, and tutorials to build your project upon. In addition, the developers have also created a book titled, “The Car Hacker’s Handbook – A Guide for the Penetration Tester”; that is also available for purchase.

The M2 is configurable through GVRET ( generalized vehicle reverse engineering tool ) that allows you to connect with another program called Savvy CAN; which captures the frames that the cars computer spits out. This allows you to perform tests to see what data changes. You can then take that data and create commands to perform different functions.

The project is entirely open-source and is compatible with “any car that isn’t older than Google” as the developers claim. The M2 allows you to disassemble it and replace/upgrade it to a faster CPU.

At the time of writing, the project is on a Kickstarter campaign and just surpassed its funding goal of $25,000 from 310 backers. It will have an estimated retail price of just $89.

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2 Comments

  1. I wonder what security will be like in an application like this. I mean I am sure it carries a “YMMV” sort of risk, but if someone’s hacks a car because of an open source product the owner installed, who is to blame for any damages? How would insurance handle such a claim?

    • Exactly the first thing that came to my mind 🙂 But at the moment I guess one would be unwise to confess that such a device has been installed. Insurance companies won’t be too happy about such a device but I guess it’s gonna take them years until get their act together on this one. Nevertheless I want one !

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