Farmers want the right to jailbreak their John Deere tractor – Vophs.

In addition to plowing fields, these days John Deere tractors can drive themselves, target weeds—and offer video games.

Earlier this month, an Australian hacker went live Bagni of a John Deere tractor display to play Dome on. The hacker, who goes by Sick.Codes, wasn’t out to prove it. Six tons, $35,000 The machine makes a good video game console. Rather, he wanted to show how farmers can hack their tractors to fix them instead of relying on licensed dealers.

“Farmers can see that and know they have someone in their corner,” Sick.Codes told Vophs.

As tractors become more high-tech, there is a debate over who fixes and manages them. Many farmers are accustomed to repairing their equipment. Want to keep? That right, but tractor manufacturers like John Deere say unapproved adaptations of their equipment pose safety risks.

Sick.Codes’ hacking demonstration is part of a broader movement for the right to repair devices—from phones to cars. His supporters are gaining allies. Last year, the Biden administration issued one. Executive order Calling on the Federal Trade Commission to come up with new rules and regulations that would limit manufacturers’ ability to prevent consumers from repairing the products they buy.

But it comes with some challenges and risks. Diagnosing and fixing high-tech equipment requires digital savvy — including knowing how to code — and overriding manufacturer settings can open the door to hacker attacks.

Large agricultural machines have safety systems. Weaknesseswhich can be used by malicious actors to control large amounts of data. The tractor itself.

Why do farmers want right to repair?

Right-to-repair advocates claim that John Deere is one. The big tech monopoly Farmers using digital locks have to go through an authorized dealer or agent to get their equipment fixed.

“We’re sunlight harvesters and we have a very short window to plant and harvest our crops,” said Guy Mills, a fifth-generation farmer in Nebraska. Statement (PDF) to the US Copyright Office. “This leaves farmers literally at the mercy of dealers who are in a position to charge exorbitant prices to meet the immediate needs of their customers.”

The Office has the power to allow users to legally circumvent security measures that control access to copyrighted works, i.e. give them the right to hack. But he rejected the farmers’ requests. In 2021Focusing on the right to repair electronic devices such as phones.

John Deere is trying to deflect criticism from farmers. In May, the company Expanded its reach to digital tools for making assessments and calibrations. He also launched one. website Providing technical manuals, consulting, and diagnostic tools to farmers and independent repair shops that were previously Only available through its dealership.

The company says they should now be able to handle 98 percent of all repairs if farmers choose to do so. “We know that uptime is extremely important to our customers,” the company said in a statement. “Having said that, we do not support customers modifying embedded software due to risks related to the safe operation of devices, emissions compliance, and uncertainties in the aftermarket.”

Still, the distance, time, and cost of transporting the dealer’s equipment to the dealer for minor repairs adds up To hack farmers Some of their tractors have also been filed. Cases Against Deere, alleging that the company forced them to pay higher prices for repair and maintenance services, recently Alabama.

Sick.Codes, meanwhile, said it did not reverse engineer Deere’s software as a company. They say, but entered the system and wrote his own code on top of it. “I’m like their worst enemy,” he said. “They don’t understand why I do it… I was just having fun.”

But he also wants farmers to understand the dangers of jailbreaking: “It exposes you. [to hackers]”

Leave a Comment