Your car may be at risk for malware and virus attacks, according to new findings that have been found via studies of the latest models on the market. The latest car models that are hitting the market are all equipped with new technologies that are meant to make cars safer, help drivers to get to their destinations and ultimately provide a more personalized driver experience. However, it seems to be that these things are exactly what makes these cars more vulnerable for drivers.
Senator Edward Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, investigated a report utilizing the major car makers including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Hyundai and Honda. The report was aimed at identifying what privacy concerns that these drivers should have and what the auto makers are doing to ensure that a drivers privacy is protected.
Most people when they think of malicious malware attacks only think of their computers. But, consider all that your car can do these days. However, Adam Levin, the founder of IDT911, stated:
“Automobiles have become increasingly more connected, creating both opportunities as well as vulnerabilities, through wireless networks.”
Due to this, your car is not as private as you would think. And it would seem that your car is open to just as many vulnerabilities as your mobile device or laptop.
We would all alike to think that while we are on the road and driving with a clear head and paying attention that we are save. However, the report that Markey and others investigated, shows otherwise.
1. Take control of car movement
In the report, investigators used a simple laptop to hack into two different models of cars by two different brands. The hack was a success and the investigators were able to control the car via its movement. They could press the brakes, accelerate, blow the horn and unlock car doors. A criminal who had the online know how to do this, and to be in the right place at the right time could lead to a car jacking.
2. Control the Indicators
Every car has a speedometer and other indicators, and with the right hacker, they can also change and monitor these indicators. The study that was conducted by Markey found that this could be due to the vulnerability present by wireless points in the car. However, almost all cars have wireless points as part of the tire pressure monitoring system, which is mandated by federal law. Thus, this law is making your car more susceptible to being hijacked by online criminals.
3. Reading your Data
Most cars are now equipped with some type of on-board navigation system, even a safety system such as OnStar, and the ability to hook up a smart phone device to the entire car. These are all seen as luxuries that help to make a car more safe and more personalized to your tastes. However, it could be these exact things that open you up to a malware attack. It could be very easy for a malware attack to be present on a device that is hooked into the car for nothing more than music, and then could get into the cars system. Through doing this, data could be accessed that includes where you drive daily, helping an online criminal establish your travel pattern, leaving you open to a huge security risk.
4. The Navigation System Could Lead to Your Location and Disabled Car
One of the biggest malware threats with a car is the navigation system. These systems access the Internet to ensure that road maps are up to date and to also provide directions for the driver. This is one of the biggest threats for most cars, as this can allow an online hacker to find your location with a few clicks. Furthermore, the report stated that with the navigation system finding a car, and then disabling the car is easily done. This has been proven time and time again by authorities. And though in these instances it seems that the navigation system is a life saver, when this technology is in the wrong hands it could lead to devastation.
This report was sent to all major automakers, in hopes that these automakers would have a response that could be the mind of drivers at ease. However, that simply does not seem to be the case. Wade Newton, the spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers stated:
“Auto engineers incorporate security solutions into vehicles from the very first stages of design and production – and security testing never stops.”
Newton also said that these automakers provide privacy notices and updates via their website and information on how this information is used in most owners manuals.
It would seem that despite whatever security measures these automakers are putting into their cars, there is still a risk for you. So what can you do? Here a few tips that can help you to avoid some of the ways in which hackers can get into your privacy:
1. When using a device hooked into your car, be sure that this device is protected with a VPN like HideMyAss for the maximum security. This could prevent malware from getting into your car system in the first place.
2. Stay alert to any changes that you see within your car, and if you do see indicator changes or the like, get your car to the nearest dealer to check.
3. Keep an eye on the latest privacy settings that the auto maker is releasing and follow up with whatever security measures they recommend.
Though you cannot fully protect your privacy via your car, these tips can help to make your car less of a target from hackers.