Car Hacking – Install & Setup Tool for Linux – Guide for Penetration Tester – ICS Simulator Part 1

Welcome back, my aspiring automobile cyber warriors! Automobile hacking is the cutting edge of the hacking discipline! Automobile and other vehicle hacking could have dramatic effects on society as we know it. Imagine a cyber war scenario where the opposing generals employ hackers to commandeer the adversaries tanks, jeeps and other vehicles. Or a bit more mundane, imagine a world where hackers can open, start and control your vehicle!

In this tutorial we will set up a simulation environment where you can use some of this knowledge to analyze and hack a simulated vehicle.

Car hacking
Car Hacking

This CAN Bus simulator was developed by Craig Smith at Open Garages and the author of The Car Hackers Handbook by No Starch Press.

Step 1: Install Dependencies for Card Hacking

The first step is to install the necessary dependencies into your Kali system.

apt-get install libsdl2-dev libsdl2-image-dev -y
Car Hacking Dependencies Install
Car Hacking Dependencies Install

Step 2: Install Can Utils

The next step is to install the CAN utils. These are a set of Linux-native utilities developed by Bosch of Germany. If you followed my second tutorial in the series, you have likely already installed these utilities. If not, you can do so now by downloading and installing them from the Kali repository.

apt-get install can-utils -y
Car Hacking Can Utils Install

Step 3: On a virtual CAN interface

You can run the following commands to setup a virtual can interface

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sudo modprobe can
sudo modprobe vcan
sudo ip link add dev vcan0 type vcan
sudo ip link set up vcan0

Step 4: Download ICSim for Card Hacking

Craig Smith, author of The Car Hackers Handbook and founder of has developed a small CAN simulator we will download and install next. You can clone it from here.

git clone
Car Hacking ICSim Download
Car Hacking ICSim Download

Next, we navigate to the newly created directory, ICSim.

cd ICSim
ICSim dir
ICSim dir

When we do a long listing on that directory, we can see numerous files. At this point, we need to execute the script. This is a simple BASH script that loads the new kernel modules, can and vcan, using modprobe (for more on kernel modules, see Chapter 8 of Linux Basics for Hackers) and then creates a virtual CAN interface, vcan0.

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Step 5: Download Hides Files

Execute Script
Execute Script

To start the instrument panel of our simulated vehicle, we simply need to execute icsim followed by the name of the virtual CAN interface, in this case, vcan0.

./icsim vcan0

The instrument panel should appear on your desktop like below. It includes a speedometer, turn signal and a virtual vehicle silhouette similar to modern vehicles that indicate open and closed doors for the driver.

IC Simulator
IC Simulator

To start the controller of this vehicle, enter;

./controls vcan0

This should open the controller on your desktop as seen below.

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CANBus Control Panel
CANBus Control Panel

If you have a game controller connected to your Kali system, you can now use it to “drive” your simulated car. If not, you can use the following keyboard combinations.

Car Hacking – Using & Run Tool for Linux – Guide for Penetration Tester – ICS Simulator Part 2