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Fiat 500e app connection

Posted on 2014-01-30
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-02-02
Fiat 500e electric has an app that can control charge, tire pressure, and other things.  

How does it connect to the app via the internet, and is it possible to get a virus into the car's computer?  That would be bad.
Question by:Tiras25
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

Merete earned 1336 total points
ID: 39823138
Hi Tiras25, to my knowledge not that I am a Fiat expert even though my son has one.
I don't believe so the app is PIN-protected.

The connection between the Fiat and the Apps is inbuilt connection using wireless private network not the public internet.
Youhave to log in to the App
But it should be plugged in from what i read.
Here is some info I found what the fiat uses
A free exclusive Fiat 500e app (iPhone and Android) mirrors the instrument cluster, with state-of-charge, range, and estimated time to full recharge.
Other screens deliver charge-status updates, if the vehicle is plugged in, and the ability to schedule charging when rates are lowest; and it provides remote access to the vehicle’s climate-control system, tire-pressure updates, and the ability to lock and unlock the car’s doors — and to honk the horn remotely.
On a side note
A virus is a script written to change how a specific software functions, the only way it can run is when a user ( human being) runs it, opens it, installs it.
A hacker uses hardware to intercept your signal and enter it on the same frequency stealing your keystrokes to access your sensitive banking information.
Highly unlikely since the Fiat wireless freq is used within a APPs.

Either way one is software used to steal information and send it back and the other is a person trying to steal your keystrokes or listen in.
In this situation here you are just accessing your vehical's computer scemantics.
The manufacturers have done their best to keep this technology secure and I personally don't believe any hacker is interested in this.
Hope it allay's your concerns .
LVL 17

Author Comment

ID: 39823171
Hi Merete, >> But it should be plugged in from what i read.>>
Actually I can see the location of my car whether its plugged in or not.  I can see all the info even someone else driving it, tire pressure, % charge, etc.
So I am still curious how its communicating with the car's computer.  Still has to logon over the WiFi or cellular network and connect to the car. So I presume over the public internet...
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

Merete earned 1336 total points
ID: 39823184
Ah that would be the GPS.
A GPS picks up a signal from a satelite, that uses a radio signal not an internet signal.
I can see where your coming from Tiras25
It is using the apps that came with it. Tom Tom I believe it's called
That apps would use a form of GPS and it connects/mirrors the inbuilt gps in the car's computer.
Quote>The removable Fiat 500e’s TomTom Navigation system is similar to that of other Fiat 500s [see review], but adds a free, PIN-protected app which allows owners to send destinations from their mobile devices to the TomTom.
That computer is running a Linux operating system. Very little virus or hack access.
Very Secure.
How does GPS work?
How does my TomTom device work?

It's not a live connection internet but rather a satelite signal that dots a map to show you your position.
Nothing to hack or access there no potential for anything other than to tell you where you car is.
Or the state of your other parts.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 39825102
The Fiat 500e app connects to your mobile device to the Fiat 500e via a wireless connection not via the internet.
Except for  updated GPS location, the data shown on your phone such as tire pressure and % charge, etc.  is data from the time your mobile device was previously connected (in WiFi range) of the car while its ignition was turned on.

There is zero chance of internet hackers putting a virus into the car's computer.

Further info:
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

noci earned 664 total points
ID: 39825471
Well some info can be derived from how it behaves.

If you get updates (new info on location, battery load etc.) while the car is out of range for Wifi (~30meters) then The car connects somehow to you mobile, or actualy your mobile connects to some central point where your car connects too.
Other ways to actualy check what happens is sniff the Wifi signals for your data.

Common methods for connecting are f.e. GSM or public WiFi hotspots.

If some equipments communicates using a network then the network can be tapped, data injected etc.  It may take some time but if the app allows you to CONTROL your car (turn loading on/off) you have to assume that if the manufacturer sais nothing about it someone will find out how it works and how to turn it onto a tool.

Modern cars are easier to rob then older cars because of the electronics that isn't protected well enough. Just because people want a remote to open their doors.
And yes that includes BMW, Mercedes and other high profile cars.

Oh and GPS is overrated, GPS is a bunch of satellites just sending timestamps.
The difference between the timestamps (of >3 sats) , the timestamps itself, and the known location of a satellite give the handset the opportunity to calculate where it is w.r.t. the satellites. Some equipment has the possibility to export that data through f.e. GSM to tell some organisation where it is, f.e. your mobile phone tells interested apps what the current geolocation is, thos application then use it.
 The GPS system itself is passive.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 39828552
Thankyou Tiras25
Happy travels in your beautiful Fiat
regards Merete

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