In the past, anyone who wanted to steal your car would need to physically enter it. Now, vehicles contain so much technology that cybercriminals could hack into them remotely and take control of them. It’s a whole new scary level of grand theft auto just waiting to happen. The extent of the damage that could be caused remains unknown but the potential is certainly there for hackers to cause mayhem if they can infiltrate your vehicle’s technological features.
What Makes A Vehicle Vulnerable to Cyberhacking?
Now more than ever, the different systems that make up a car are designed to work together for greater efficiency, necessitating interconnectivity with each other and with a central control.
The addition of autonomous systems to cars that are partly or fully self-driving means that these vehicles will also need to connect with other cars and road infrastructure, creating further access opportunities for hackers.
An increase in the abundance and sophistication of in-car software means that they now contain millions of lines of code from different components and manufacturers. This makes it harder for security testers to weed out problems that hackers could find readily.
Modern vehicles now store a significant volume and variety of data – all of which is at the mercy of cybercriminals. For example, your GPS system could include your home address, regular routes and possibly even financial data.
Possible Hacking Points
- Key fob
- Wireless tyre pressure
- In-car WiFi
- In-car satnav
- Multimedia systems
How to Lower the Risk of Your Car Being Hacked
- Many drivers now use a small dongle which plugs into the on-board diagnostics port underneath the dashboard to monitor driving habits and vehicle performance. If you have one of these, you should remove it when the vehicle is not being driven.
- Store your keys in a metal drawer or refrigerator overnight (wrapping them in foil also helps). This makes it almost impossible for hackers to intercept the key fob signal to access the vehicle, as the signal is reduced or blanked out completely.
- Disable any in-car wireless services that you don’t need, as Bluetooth or wireless key fobs can provide access points for hackers. The owner’s manual will probably outline the vehicle’s wireless features so that you can determine which ones aren’t important.
- Be wary of phishing scams. Hackers could potentially send out offers, discounts, etc. through a smartphone app which users unwittingly download to avail of the reward, only for it to be a scam in which the hacker gains access to the victim’s car, which they could start remotely.