Cyber-security internals of a Skoda Octavia vRS: a hands on approach

Colin Urquhart, Xavier Bellekens*, Christos Tachtatzis, Robert Atkinson, Hanan Hindy, Amar Seeam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
327 Downloads (Pure)


The convergence of information technology and vehicular technologies are a growing paradigm, allowing information to be sent by and to vehicles. This information can further be processed by the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and the Controller Area Network (CAN) for in-vehicle communications or through a mobile phone or server for out-vehicle communication. Information sent by or to the vehicle can be life-critical (e.g. breaking, acceleration, cruise control, emergency communication, etc. . . ). As vehicular technology advances, in-vehicle networks are connected to external networks through 3 and 4G mobile networks, enabling manufacturer and customer monitoring of different aspects of the car. While these services provide valuable information, they also increase the attack surface of the vehicle, and can enable long and short range attacks. In this manuscript, we evaluate the security of the 2017 Skoda Octavia vRS 4x4. Both physical and remote attacks are considered, the key fob rolling code is successfully compromised, privacy attacks are demonstrated through the infotainment system, the Volkswagen Transport Protocol 2.0 is reverse engineered. Additionally, in-car attacks are highlighted and described, providing an overlook of potentially deadly threats by modifying ECU parameters and components enabling digital forensics investigation are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146057-146069
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Access
Early online date25 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2019


  • Cyber-security
  • Digital forensics
  • Physical attacks
  • Privacy attacks
  • Remote attacks
  • Reverse engineering
  • Skoda Octavia


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