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Old 06-01-2019, 07:22 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Will Have Encrypted ECU to Deter Third-Party Tuning

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2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Will Have Encrypted ECU to Deter Third-Party Tuning: Report

GM's new global electrical system, which the next-gen Corvette reportedly uses, is so secure that it'll be off-limits to anyone but Chevy.

Chevrolet's upcoming eighth-generation Corvette, or "mid-engined C8" as it's known to its fans, has an electrical control system reportedly so complex and secure that third-party attempts to tune the factory ECU could potentially "brick" the car.

The 2020 Corvette has been reported to use a new global electrical system framework devised by General Motors, one so complex that working out its kinks allegedly delayed the C8's reveal by six months. According to Muscle Cars & Trucks, this system's nerve center is an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with security measures so stiff that it'll shrug off most attempts to modify its code. Extreme encryption measures reportedly mean that even reading the ECU's code will be exceptionally tricky for tuners, who have long loved the Corvette for its easy performance gains with slight modification.

Sources allegedly told the publication that the C8's ECU can recognize attempts to modify its code, and that it may shut down while you're working on it to save its factory settings. Should some third-party code make its way into the ECU, the car will reportedly enter a "recovery mode" wherein the car is effectively bricked, meaning it won't start, and won't be tunable with anything other than proprietary GM gear.

Simply replacing the factory ECU with a third-party unit such as a Haltech or Motec unit to bypass this problem is reportedly not such an easy proposition, for reasons unspecified. We speculate that this may be down to the alleged complexity of the C8's electrical system.
Today Muscle Cars & Trucks has learned that the upcoming 2020 C8 Corvette may be off-limits to much of the performance tuning community because of its unique encrypted ECU system. In effect, successfully flash-tuning, reprogramming and otherwise altering the engine control unit to increase power output will be next to impossible.

Yes, encrypted ECU systems are already in vehicles. But the C8 Corvette is unique in that it features a widely heightened sense of cybersecurity. As a result, it might be impossible to read, write, and/or replace the standard ECU of the C8 Corvette. Major side effects of attempting to do so include “bricking” the car, according to sources.

When a programming event fails, the C8 Corvette is designed to go into what can be essentially described as a “recovery mode.” When this happens, it communicates certain data in order to restore a point that a new programming session can start. Then the ECU can be reprogrammed as normal. In layman’s terms, any foreign code will shut down the Corvette’s computer, and it will need to be rebooted. If one does not have the resources to re-image the ECU of the 2020 C8 Corvette, the vehicle’s as good as a rolling paperweight.



Don’t expect an official comment from Chevrolet anytime soon, as the official details are still classified until such things are disclosed this summer.

The 2020 C8 Corvette will be officially revealed on July 18, 2019 in California. Expect it to have an exclusive DOHC V8 engine, dubbed LT2, paired to an exclusive seven-speed dual clutch transmission. That’s right: no pushrods, and no manual transmission. At least, not at first.

Proportionally, the 2020 C8 Corvette is rumored to have enough space in its “frunk” to accommodate at least one bag of golf clubs. Seeing as some of the executives in charge of developing the mid-engine Corvette enjoy a round of 18 holes as much as they enjoy a round at the road course, we imagine that this was always an essential component of the car’s development. A car that took six decades to manifest itself.
https://www.musclecarsandtrucks.com/...be-un-tunable/
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Old 06-01-2019, 12:46 PM   #2
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I hope these sell like ****. I don't want other car companies to be encouraged by this sort of b.s.
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Old 06-01-2019, 02:50 PM   #3
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If the factory program is good, I don't have an issue messing with it.

ex: Subaru fails to bring good software to the table which forces us to re-flash it.

Plus a car like the Vette comes with so much power out of the gate, it's like you really don't need to mess with the car for street use.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:44 AM   #4
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Default Some tuners will be allowed to tweak the ECU while others will be banned.





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Some tuners will be allowed to tweak the ECU while others will be banned.

https://www.musclecarsandtrucks.com/...gives-details/


There’s been a lot of internet swirl about our original report regarding the 2020 C8 Corvette ECU. At no point did Muscle Cars & Trucks mention that the vehicle’s Engine Control Unit is un-hackable, as that’s best left up to the hackers.

To reiterate: what it is actually, is the most formidable example of ECU/ECM cybersecurity that tuning companies have yet to see from the automaker, and GM President Mark Reuss gave us some insight as to why that’s the case.

“We are going to do everything we can to protect our customers from a cybersecurity standpoint,” said Reuss. “Global B I think is going to be the standard of the industry in terms of the encrypted messaging that travels on our bus between modules. There’s a clean side and dirty side to that.”

Global B is GM’s Battery Electric Vehicle architecture. Not that the 2020 C8 Corvette is going to be electric – there’s definitely audible evidence to the contrary – but the software system appears to be shared.

“(2020 C8 Corvette ECU) is very, very well done in terms of being able to connect,” Ruess continued, “but also to have the capacity and capability for things like Super Cruise, AV and EV. That pipeline that is created with Global B and cybersecurity to be part of that is very, very robust.”

MC&T talked to Mr. Reuss during the official reveal of the 2020 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V in Detroit. Previous ECU systems did not have this level of security to worry about. There are also various legal hurdles to consider.



The writing of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) sloppily prohibits “access controls” on software. This is otherwise known as digital rights management (DRM). Therefore, car companies can take legal action to those who go after vehicle software systems. Considering the lax approach towards tuning companies thus far, we assume these reservations are left for actions involving driverless technology. The murky water is that even though one can purchase a vehicle, they still don’t own the software in its computers. It’s copyrighted, and therefore, belongs to its manufacturers.

“I don’t wanna cut anybody out from an aftermarket standpoint, but we have to pick and choose who are the good guys,” said Reuss.

GM has been on a tear and has gone to great lengths of spending ($2 billion annually) to lead the charge in autonomous vehicle technology, via Cruise Automation. These cybersecurity measures largely reflect this effort.



For the record, GM never openly lets tuning companies have access to the raw binary of any vehicle ECU/ECM. All hp upgrade efforts have been done on an independent basis by the tuning companies themselves. With that in mind, we can only look at recent tuning endeavors as to the level of difficulty it is to crack a GM ECU/ECM. Here are a few examples:

The GM L5P Duramax engine ECU/ECM took roughly two years for tuners to crack it. Availability remains limited.
The LT5 C7 Corvette ZR1 ECU/ECM wasn’t cracked until April 2019, over a year being on the market.
The T1 GM trucks (2019+ Silverado and 2019+ Sierra) have yet to have their ECU/ECM hacked for power upgrades, as far as we know. Even renown tuners such as Lingenfelter and Hennessey haven’t offered ECU-based upgrades.
Considering the popularity of full-size pickup trucks and true body-on-frame SUVs in North America, these barriers could defer potential customers from GM that wish to buy a truck with the intent to upgrade it. It also denies tuning companies the opportunity to do so.

The 2020 C8 Corvette ECU cybersecurity is likely to continue this pattern, but to a heightened level. In other words, if one wants a 1,000 horsepower Corvette courtesy of the aftermarket, they’re better off getting a C7. To that end, there are plenty of them looking for owners these days. Same thing goes if they want a manual transmission. Because in case you haven’t heard, the mid-engine Corvette isn’t getting a clutch pedal when it launches.

As we have previously reported, encrypted Engine Control Units/Engine Control Modules are not new to the automotive industry at this point in time, but they are surely becoming more and more robust, with more and more security considerations manifesting year after year, if not month after month. The C8 Corvette ECU will be the latest industry hurdle for tuning companies to jump over.

The limited resources of tuning companies have so far impressed us with being able to circumvent the fortifications laid out by OEM titans. Yet the fact remains that odds are being increasingly stacked against their favor. The storyline is set, and there’s bound to be fortune for whomever can be the first to tune the mid-engine Corvette.

All of this isn’t to spell doom and gloom for the 2020 C8 Corvette. The first-ever mid-engine Corvette is likely to break barriers, and set records, when it debuts on July 18, 2019. It’s easily the most anticipated vehicle from Chevrolet in decades, and will introduce dozens of first-ever features to the Corvette marque. Its mid-engine design is sure to pay huge dividends in terms of performance and curb appeal, and we expect long waiting lists to get one when the performance car finally debuts.
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:34 AM   #5
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This rear wing is much more curvy and swoopy in person. Every time I see one I think it's not a GM shape. Then I think it's probably a good departure for GM since most of what they've done on the Corvette's and Caddy's in recent history has been very sharp-edged and blocky. So yeah...not sure if I like it because it's a departure from historical GM shapes, or if I hate it because it's too "busy".
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:53 AM   #6
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Well the dealers have to service it, and to do that they need to be able to flash the ECU. Often that process can be sniffed and reverse engineered. Unless GM has gone to over the air programming only. And yes, a security gateway on the CAN bus is likely as well.

Give it a few years and somebody will break through it. The market for GM products is too big.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:30 AM   #7
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Didn't Nissan say the same thing about the GTR years ago?

Ford's programmers are smart, for sure, but there is always someone smarter. It will be hacked, period.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:59 AM   #8
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Porsche did the same thing with the 991.2 ... without saying it. Took a bit for it to be cracked, but nothing is safe.
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:44 PM   #9
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BMW tried to lock down their ECUS in their previous generation 3 series (F30/F31/F32/F80/F82/F83). It took a few years, but eventually, someone cracked it and now we can unlock the ECUs without any soldiering. It will take some time, but it will happen to GM too.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:05 PM   #10
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The subject line says they want to "deter", not prevent. No one is stupid enough to believe that their ECU will be 100% locked-down.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:06 PM   #11
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Weak sauce encryption or someone from the Auto or ECU manufacturers leaking keys.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:10 AM   #12
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GM has the security keys locked down pretty tight right now. The new Corvette is the first on their CAN FD architecture, but not the first to use cyber security measures with a seed and key structure. We've been dealing with this for the last three years. To lock / unlock the files we actually have to send them to our release engineer at GM and they have the key and software tool to lock / unlock.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:52 PM   #13
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... But come on... corvette is going to want to be competitive in racing. That means race teams will decode. That means ultimately tuning will trickle down. Why would Chevy hamstring themselves by making the new car untunable?
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:13 AM   #14
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I am curious about the tuning and even just basic bolt ons. The C6 LSs and C7 LTs made tuning fun and power upgrades straight forward, with an intake, cam, headers and tune adding a good bump in power (C7 Stingrays can make 500whp with just that set up).

Then again how much power or how much faster does this car need to be? Can't imagine what a Z06 will be like.
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Yoo Shin View Post
I am curious about the tuning and even just basic bolt ons. The C6 LSs and C7 LTs made tuning fun and power upgrades straight forward, with an intake, cam, headers and tune adding a good bump in power (C7 Stingrays can make 500whp with just that set up).

Then again how much power or how much faster does this car need to be? Can't imagine what a Z06 will be like.
Tend to agree. Now that we know the bonkers 0-60 time, yeah it certainly seems like it's really doesn't need much more. Especially with rumors of like 1000hp. I felt that way about the C7, anything above the Grand Sport just seems like it's for bragging rights. The C7 Z06 was mad, and a bit of a misfire, and the ZR1 was just silly. Same thing with the Mustang, the GT350 is perfection; the GT500 is coming out and I kinda wish it wouldn't.
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