36Profile: Dr. Charlie Miller

Most people who recognize Dr. Charlie Miller’s name and his work know him as part of a hacker duo who can completely remotely control your car like a kid’s toy. For a few years if you saw a news report about hackers making a car or Jeep suddenly speed up or even run off the road, remotely, it involved Dr. Miller. A Wired magazine author described his experiences (https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers‐remotely‐kill‐jeep‐highway/) with Dr. Miller and his partner in crime, Chris Valasek.

Miller and Valasek wrote a detailed whitepaper called “Adventures in Automotive Networks and Control Units” (http://illmatics.com/car_hacking.pdf) that describes how many of a car’s components, critical and non‐critical, could be controlled including the emergency brake, air conditioning, indicator lights, transmission, entertainment systems, brakes, and even steering. For many of us, this paper was the most insight we had into how a car’s network of computer systems worked and communicated. In later iterations, they figured out how to do it remotely. It was car‐hacking nirvana! They even released their custom tools to help make car hacking easier for others.

The idea that hackers could remotely control your car wasn’t completely shocking, but seeing two guys do it from their laptop 10 miles away as cameras recorded the action brought home the potential threat in a way that theories on a paper just cannot. Dr. Miller didn’t need to actively promote the idea that these ...

Get Hacking the Hacker now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.