Each day technology advances by leaps and bounds and as such, it has become more and more integrated into vehicles even. More cars are including technology that extends well beyond power windows and a radio, more and more cars are coming equipped with GPS monitoring systems and other Bluetooth and smart-tech to make the driving experience easier and more luxurious than ever before. With the added technology leading cars to resemble computers more and more, drivers are beginning to become concerned that computer hacking into their vehicles may become a real issue in the near future. If you have a more recent vehicle and are worried about vital information being compromised, here are some things to know and remember when it comes to hacking the software in a vehicle.
- Known Cases Have Asterisks– Despite what you may have heard regarding the hacking of vehicles, stories like “my car’s air conditioning was suddenly being controlled by not me and my doors kept locking and unlocking” should be taken with a grain of salt. In instances of stories like that, the vehicles affected were actually owned by the hackers themselves, attempting to see if it was possible and as such they had been tampered with accordingly. The idea of a group of hackers simply picking a car out of a crowd and overriding the system is highly unlikely and close to impossible currently.
- Some Vehicles Have Already Been Fixed– A particularly well known instance is a team reporting to have hacked a 2009 Chevy Impala from a remote location using the OBD-II port, by plugging in to that and installing software from a computer, they were able to apply the brakes suddenly or disable them completely even. However, General Motors then spent the next five years fixing this bug and vulnerability, ensuring newer models and future models are not vulnerable.
- Instances of Hacking are Mostly Research Currently– Being concerned that your car may be susceptible to hacking is not a blind concern that should go unnoticed, it is a warranted concern as more vehicle are built with internet connectivity capabilities. However currently, the majority of vehicles do not have these abilities and the majority of “hackers” are actually independent researchers or security companies hired by the manufacturers themselves to expose weaknesses or flaws in the technology to help further prevent any possible hacking or compromising of information.
- Your Car is Storing More Information– Car manufacturers have begun announcing plans for more social media integrated into their vehicles, designed to tailor each car to the driver’s preferences and tastes. Access either via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection will put your Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts in the memory of your car. While beneficial for a variety of reasons, this is one of the major causes for concern with hacking a vehicle: the information that may be available that does not involve the vehicle being effected directly. Identity theft is already a major issue for many Americans, adding the threat of your car as another hack-able resource simply just may not be worth it to some drivers.
- Equipment is Becoming More Available– In an effort to improve vehicle security and reduce the threat of hacking; there is python-based CANard software and CANard hardware that lets drivers hack their own connected cars. The device is cross platform so it will work on any type of computer but it does currently require access to the car itself before any type of hacking can be done. By putting drivers in control of their own vehicles, the hope is that more oversights and bugs can be identified and fixed before any effects are too severe.
While hacking a vehicle may seem like a present-day concern for many drivers, the whole truth is far less threatening and menacing. Currently no vehicles that have not already been modified have been hacked remotely, though as technology becomes further integrated into new models of car, there will be valid reason for concern as they store more and more personal information. By staying on top of all of the latest technology and progress you will be able to best determine the course of action that you need to take to ensure that none of your information is ever compromised and so your vehicle is never at any risk.