Hacking Alert! 10 Ways Your Car Can Be Hacked And How To Prevent It

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Is it possible to hack your car? The short answer is yes. With today’s advanced features, cars are essentially huge moving computers, susceptible to flaws, viruses, and hackers just like any other computer or mobile device. Self-driving cars and vehicles with advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and automated braking are particularly vulnerable. Still, virtually any vehicle manufactured in the last several years can be disabled by a hacker.

How Hackers Can Attack Automobiles

If a hacker was responsible for any misconduct resulting in a car accident, your insurance company might deny your claim. Hence, it is important to know what damage hackers can do to your car.

To get a settlement for a car accident, the insurance company might ask you several details like – the reason behind the accident, location, damages, etc. 

Here are a few examples of how hackers can gain access to your vehicle’s vulnerable systems and make driving difficult or dangerous for you:

Tire pressure monitoring systems: When hacked, hackers can activate warning lights and can disable your brakes and even shut down the engine.

Manipulation of vehicle diagnostics: Today, repair shops and dealerships rely heavily on onboard vehicle diagnostics systems to perform initial problem diagnosis. However, unscrupulous businesses can manipulate your diagnostics system to make it look like you require repairs even when they are not required.

Changing the time, a tune on the radio, or your GPS destination:  Hackers can change your radio station or even hack into your GPS and change your destination.

MP3 malware: Malware-coded downloads can enter your car’s infotainment system and spread to other systems, including those that control your engine or brakes.

Extended key fob range: Today’s wireless key fobs unlock car doors when the person holding them is nearby. Thieves can use radio repeaters to expand the range of the key fob, unlocking your car doors from up to 30 feet away.

Downloads of driving data: Many vehicles equipped with GPS or telematics systems, collect driving data. If this information is compromised, it might be used to invade your privacy and even find where you live, work, or send your children to school.

Smartphone access: Hackers may be more interested in your vehicle’s connected mobile phone than in its systems, which can allow them access to credit card details, passwords, and financial data. 

Turning on heat in the summer or air conditioning in the winter: In the summer, hackers can blast hot air and even turn on seat heaters. 

Controlling the windshield wipers: Windshield cleaning fluid is useful, but not when it is released unexpectedly or continuously. Then it may compromise your visibility.

Will Your Vehicle Be Hacked?

What are your chances of being a victim of car hacking? It’s doubtful that you’ll have a problem with hacking at this time. Most hackers do not wish to hack cars because there is no financial motivation, unlike computers or mobile phones. Car hackers often do it for amusement or malice. However, we may see more of them as vehicles grow more connected, autonomous, and even self-driving.

How to Keep Your Car Safe from Hackers

While most automotive security measures must be implemented at the manufacturer level, there are several things that everyday drivers may do to safeguard their vehicles from hacking:

  • Don’t put your home address into your GPS
  • Don’t leave your password in your vehicle 
  • Stay alert for vehicle recalls
  • Buy a vehicle with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay
  • Use reputable shops
  • Limit wireless or remote systems
  • Buy a vehicle with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay
  • Don’t download untrusted apps or use your car’s Web browser

The threat is real. As more smart cars hit the road, the possibility for these kinds of attacks will expand. Security researchers interested in smart car hacking are quite vocal about the notion that it is only a matter of time before hackers discover new techniques of wirelessly hacking smart automobiles.

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