Farmer Hacks tractor to bypass security

Monday, August 15, 2022 • 9:20 EDT

At the DefCon security conference in Las Vegas on Saturday, the hacker known as Sick Codes is presenting a new jailbreak for John Deere & Co. tractors that allows him to take control of multiple models through their touchscreens. Like insulin pump “looping” and iPhone jailbreaking, this allows farmers to modify and repair the expensive equipment that’s vital to their work, the way they could with analog tractors. Mostly he says he is curious to see how John Deere will react. John Deere did not respond to WIRED's request for comment about the research. Farmers around the world have turned to tractor hacking so they can bypass the digital locks that manufacturers impose on their vehicles. After he made his research public, tractor companies, including John Deere, started fixing some of the flaws. We want farmers to be able to repair their stuff for when things go wrong, and now that means being able to repair or make decisions about the software in their tractors.” To develop his jailbreak, Sick Codes got his hands on numerous generations of John Deere tractor control touchscreen consoles. The finding underscores the security implications of the right-to-repair movement. ( Continue reading.

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