jm + emissions   3

How they did it: an analysis of emissions defeat devices in modern automobiles
Using CurveDiff, the team analysed 963 firmware images, for which analysis completed successfully for 924. 406 of the analysed images contained a defeat device, out of which 333 contained at least one active profile. In at least 268 images, the test detection affects the EGR. Firmware images released on Dec 3rd 2014 are used in VW Passat cars, and include the refinement to the defeat device to detect steering wheel angle that we discussed previously.
cars  driving  emissions  diesel  volkswagen  law  regulation  firmware  reverse-engineering 
4 weeks ago by jm
TV detector vans may have been a con all along
This is shaking my world view -- although I find it more plausible that (as responses to https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-22440,00.html claim) they _did_ work until about 10-20 years ago, by detecting RF emissions from the local oscillator inside the TV.

Ross Anderson, at https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/Papers/SE-15.pdf , notes:

During [..] World War II, radio engineering saw advances in radar, passive direction
finding, and low-probability-of-intercept techniques, which I’ll discuss in the next
chapter. By the 1960s, the stray RF leaking from the local oscillator signals in domestic
television sets was being targeted by direction-finding equipment in “TV detector
vans,” in Britain, where TV owners must pay an annual license fee that is supposed to
support public broadcast services. Its use has since expanded to satellite and cable TV
operators, who use detector vans to find pirate decoders. Some people in the computer
security community were also aware that information could leak from cross-coupling
and stray RF (see, for example, [259, 791]).
rf  radio  tv  bbc  tv-licenses  tv-license-detector-vans  security  emissions  tempest 
august 2016 by jm
How VW tricked the EPA's emissions testing system
In July 2015, CARB did some follow up testing and again the cars failed—the scrubber technology was present, but off most of the time. How this happened is pretty neat. Michigan’s Stefanopolou says computer sensors monitored the steering column. Under normal driving conditions, the column oscillates as the driver negotiates turns. But during emissions testing, the wheels of the car move, but the steering wheel doesn’t. That seems to have have been the signal for the “defeat device” to turn the catalytic scrubber up to full power, allowing the car to pass the test. Stefanopolou believes the emissions testing trick that VW used probably isn’t widespread in the automotive industry. Carmakers just don’t have many diesels on the road. And now that number may go down even more.


Depressing stuff -- but at least they think VW's fraud wasn't widespread.
fraud  volkswagen  vw  diesel  emissions  air-quality  epa  carb  catalytic-converters  testing 
september 2015 by jm

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