Connected Car Security Concerns
Guest Post By: Ramon Francisco
When Marty found himself 30 years ahead in the future in the movie “Back to the Future: Part II,” flying cars were already in the norm. The date in the film was around in October in the year 2015. Back in reality, there was no available flying car in the said year. Even today, five years after, the “advanced” cars that we have right now, which are expected to flood the market soon, are still a bit conservative as they run on roads as cars always have done.
What makes modern cars advanced is that they can communicate with devices in and out of the vehicle as well as with other vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure. The connected car can also be controlled remotely with the use of your smartphones and other mobile applications.
What Is A Connected Car?
A connected car is an innovative vehicle that runs with a connection to the internet. This new type of car is defined as an automobile that has devices that connect to other devices within the vehicle and external devices in other vehicles, homes, or infrastructure. Experts say that a connected car is part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Security Concerns for Connected Cars
While there a lot of people who are excited about how connected cars will transform the road, t some are skeptical about this when it comes to cybersecurity. Some say that this new development poses a new level of threat. If not appropriately addressed before many connected cars hit the road, it will become hard to troubleshoot, which might pose a high risk to connected car users.
1. Vehicle Being Stolen
One of the critical features of a connected car is its keyless entry and start system. For a keyless vehicle to operate, it will rely on digital keys, mobile applications, and wireless key fobs. What makes it vulnerable is that car thieves can gain unauthorized entry to the car by just intercepting communication between a smartphone and the vehicle. Car thieves can use devices that can extend the car’s wireless signal and emulate the wireless key fob to gain access.
With physical keys, managing car security would be less complicated when compared to those of the connected cars. Proper cybersecurity should always be in place to prevent a keyless vehicle from falling into other hands.
2. Personal Data at Risk
As you connect your car to the internet, your personal information becomes vulnerable to attacks. Your vehicle’s system may contain your data, location data, and even your financial information. When hackers gain access to your smart car, they may be able to find this information and use it for malicious activities.
3. Mobile Application Vulnerabilities
Smart or connected cars rely heavily on mobile applications for many of their features. As an owner, you can remotely access your vehicle with just simple taps on your phone. You can unlock and open your car, start the ignition, get directions, and you can tap into emergency services when the need arises. You can even locate your vehicle quickly when you seem lost in a sea of cars at the parking lot.
However, these features also make a car vulnerable to attacks. Applications used to connect to your vehicle provided by third-party companies make your phone susceptible to hacks.
4. Lack of In-design Security
Sadly, many smart car manufacturers have little or even no background in dealing with cyberattacks. Many have no experience and do not have any knowledge of cybersecurity. Many smart cars lack built-in security systems for either the software and or the hardware components. Security testing has not been prioritized or, if it has been initiated, it will have been added late in the design process.
5. Remote Attacks
Hackers cannot not only penetrate a single, smart car, but they can also infiltrate multiple connected vehicles with just a single release of an attack. Hackers can do this by just simply accessing remotely an automotive cloud where several cars are connected.
Technology is making things around us smarter. However, the sad reality is that hackers and cybercriminals are getting smarter too. To keep your vehicle safe from any infiltrations, always remember to familiarize yourself with possible attacks so it will be easier for you to detect one. Take extra precautions like not skipping an update, disabling unused smart services that may serve as a gateway for any possible attacks, and asking questions when you are buying your car no matter how technical it may get.
Ramon has been writing about technology trends, entertainment, and gaming ever since he left the busy world of corporate HR Tech behind. He currently writes about software and user experiences for Softvire Australia – the leading software e-Commerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand. In his spare time, Ramon writes science fiction, collects little yellow men and plastic spaceships.