It’s no surprise that in our increasingly technological society, more and more vehicles are being equipped with in-car Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art infotainment systems. While purchasing a new vehicle with all of the latest luxury upgrades is appealing, it’s important to also consider the security risks that may leave your automobile vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Auto manufacturers have begun to address the growing concern of vehicle-hacking, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a public service announcement to consumers, warning automobile owners with internet-connected vehicles that they’re at risk of being hacked. The FBI has also addressed concerns surrounding vehicle connectivity, outlining security measures that owners should take to better protect themselves from cyberattacks.
Just how vulnerable are connected automobiles? A 15-year-old attending the 2015 Battelle CyberAuto Challenge held in Troy, Michigan was able to hack into a vehicle and remotely unlock and start the car. The boy spent $15 on parts at a Radio Shack and assembled the device within a night, surprising security experts in attendance.
While there are a number of things you can do to secure your vehicle against hackers, one of the best defenses is to keep your software updated. Vehicle operations in today’s cars are computer-based and are susceptible to viruses, just like PCs.
If you have Windows installed on your computer, you’re probably familiar with automatic updates. Connected vehicles require updates to ensure security to defend against cyberattacks. So, what are automobile manufacturers doing to make sure that you are secure? They’re issuing software update notifications and recall notices.
Remember to always verify the authenticity of the notification with the manufacturer. If your notification included a link, don’t click on it because it might not be secure. Instead, use a USB or SD card to download and install the software from the manufacturer’s website. Another option is to make an appointment at your dealership for installation of recall software or updates.
In-car technology will undoubtedly continue to evolve, providing consumers with a wealth of helpful functions and options, but it will also bring with it risks that were once only found in sci-fi movies. Remember to stay informed and take the proper precautions to protect your vehicle.