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Infiniti Q50, Jeep Cherokee top researchers' list of 'hackable' vehicles

List rates potential vulnerability of vehicles\' networked electronic systems.

Security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek have published a list of vehicles deemed "more hackable" based on a range of criteria.

Best known in the auto industry for hacking a Ford Escape to remotely control the brakes via a computer, the duo has since worked to investigate which models could be more vulnerable to similar exploits.

Of the 24 models included in the cursory study, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was deemed to be one of the potentially easiest targets. Following close behind was the 2015 Infiniti Q50 and 2015 Cadillac Escalade.

"It really depends on the architecture: If you hack the radio, can you send messages to the brakes or the steering? And if you can, what can you do with them?" the pair asked in a lengthy paper that has been presented at the Black Hat security gathering, as quoted by Wired.

The team acknowledges that it could be wrong in making specific assumptions, which have not been verified through real-world hacks. Instead, the ratings consider several criteria such as "attack surface" wireless communication systems, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, along with automated braking or lane assist systems that allow the networked electronic systems to directly control the vehicle.

The group is pushing automakers to prioritize building more secure electronics to protect against the latest attacks, particularly in newer vehicles that allow the onboard computers to steer and brake.

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