GM Boss Mark Reuss Discusses the ‘Un-hackable’ C8 Corvette ECU

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Camouflaged Next Gen Corvette NYC

GM wants to make sure that only the right people can access the computer system of the mid-engine Corvette.

Last week, Muscle Cars and Trucks reported that it could be impossible for aftermarket tuners to access the computer system of the C8 Chevrolet Corvette. That initial report stated that something as simple as an attempt to communicate with the computer system via the OBDII access port with an unauthorized device could cause the car to completely shut down, effectively making it impossible for anyone outside of the local Chevy dealership to hook up to the C8 computer system.

Cracking the code of an engine computer system is no different than hacking into any other computer system, so suggesting that it will be impossible to turn a C8 Corvette is suggesting that it will be impossible to hack into the on-board computer system. Preventing hackers from gaining entry to the system seems highly unlikely, but there is no question that GM has gotten better at making their engine computer encryption harder to crack, with the LT5 taking more than a year to unlock.

C8 Corvette Mule

Fortunately, the crew from Muscle Cars and Trucks recently spoke with General Motors boss Mark Reuss at the debut of the new Cadillac CT4 and CT5, and they were able to get a little more information about the computer system in the C8 Corvette.

The Global B System

Mark Reuss didn’t exactly talk about the C8 Corvette and its tuning capabilities but instead, he talked about the Global B electric vehicle architecture that controls just about every aspect of the new sports car. This same system will be used in a variety of other vehicles, including self-driving cars featuring the Cadillac Super Cruise system, so the GM engineers have put a tremendous amount of effort into securing the system.

C8 Corvette Mule

“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.”

He would go on to add this:

“(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,” said Reuss. “That pipeline that is created with Global B and cybersecurity to be part of that is very, very robust. I don’t want to cut anybody out from an aftermarket standpoint, but we have to pick and choose who are the good guys.”

C8 Corvette Mule

What This Means

Reuss didn’t offer any insight as to which sides are clean and dirty, but we would like to imagine that the clean side is the aftermarket tuning market while the dirty side is comprised of people who want to access the system steal cars and information. While this seems extreme, imagine if a hacker was able to take control of a new Cadillac while using Super Cruise; the results could be deadly. That is seemingly the kind of thing that GM wants to prevent along with protecting any data that owners have uploaded to their vehicle via their cell phone.

C8 Corvette Mule

In talking about not wanting to cut out the aftermarket, it seems as though that type of access will be less of a concern since there is literally no cybersecurity threat with a high performance engine tune. However, with the automaker’s recent security measures having such a negative impact on aftermarket tuning, it doesn’t seem likely that GM will make it easy for anyone outside of the corporate umbrella to access the on-board computer system.

Again, we don’t believe that GM will keep tuners from working their magic, but as was the case with the LT5 in the new ZR1, tuning the new mid-engine Corvette is likely to take quite a bit of time.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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