Common Car Hacks & How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

9 Jan

CarHacksIn today’s digital age, lots of Americans worry about hackers finding their way into bank accounts, computer files, and personal information. But with automobiles becoming more technologically advanced each year, keeping a car safe may soon require more than just securing a Club across the steering wheel.

There are few things scarier than the idea of a malicious hacker taking control of your vehicle and causing harm to you and your passengers. Auto security experts have studied how hackers could potentially do everything from adjust your car’s radio to make your brakes stop working properly. The Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS) is collaboration between researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California San Diego that is working to make future automotive embedded systems more secure, safe, and private.

“You want to stay one step ahead of what these guys might do,” explained Rich Strader, Ford’s director of information technology security and strategy.

These are some plausible car hacks and how car manufacturers are addressing the issues.

Car Door Locks

The locks on many car doors are connected to other vehicular systems. For example, your doors may lock when you put your car into drive. Hypothetically, this could mean that a hack to your car door locks could affect braking and accelerating. However, auto manufacturers typically ensure that this is a one-way connection to eliminate this possibility.

Software and Apps

There are lots of third-party apps and software that auto manufactures use to expand their features and offerings. Infotainment features are a great example of this. However, most manufactures, including Ford and Toyota, are very picky about what apps they allow into their vehicles. GM, for example, routes its software through remote servers to eliminate the possibility of drivers downloading infected software in their cars.

Telematics System

OnStar is an example of a telematics system that notifies the authorities in the case of a crash, car theft, or other emergency. Researchers have looked into the possibility of hackers disabling a car’s ignition through systems like these. However, this is a very complicated engineering process that automakers have already begun securing more thoroughly. OnStar, for example, employs a list of computers that are specifically allowed to connect with cars.

 

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