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Car Hacking is a Real and Present Danger

car hacking danger

We’ve seen it in the movies and we’ve heard rumors that it could actually be real, but now we’ve received confirmation from law enforcement officials. Car hacking is a real and present danger. The FBI went as far as issuing a serious warning about car hacking in March of 2016. So, what exactly is car hacking? In short, car hacking is when hackers attack the software in a vehicle. The attacks occur as over-the-internet and they can take control of the vehicle.

What Happens When Hacked?

Much like experiencing a hack on your personal computer or laptop, the touchscreen in your vehicle will be unresponsive if you’ve been hacked. Hackers will be able to do one of two things, or both, if they’ve hacked your system. They will be able to leave a ransom message on the screen requiring you to pay a fee to have the vehicle unlocked. They might also legitimately be able to overtake the operation of the vehicle, including use of the gas and brake pedals.

Cyber Security Threats

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that car hacking will become a widespread issue sometime in the near future. As more and more new vehicles offer computer systems that connect to the internet, more and more hackers will begin shifting their focus from personal computers and laptops to hacking vehicle computer systems.

How to Protect Your Vehicle

If you own a vehicle that has a computer system that connects to the internet, you will want to protect yourself as much as possible from a potential hack. This can be done by updating the software when an alert is issued for a new update, not inserting insecure technology devices into the system’s ports, having recalls surrounding the vehicle’s technology handled immediately, not giving access to your car to strangers and avoiding unauthorized changes to the software of the vehicle.

The Proof

The proof is in the pudding, as the old saying goes. There is proof to back the idea that car hacking is a real danger. In 2015, two security experts hacked into the computer system of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. They were able to take control of the vehicle’s speed, turning, and brakes. The two experts were also able to shut the engine down at their leisure. Aside from doing this to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the pair discovered they could hack into thousands of other vehicles with the Uconnect entertainment system. This led to a recall of 1.4 million vehicles by FIAT Chrysler. The two who conducted the experiment also noted that vehicle manufacturers do not have warning systems in place for that would detect or prevent possible hacks to their vehicles. There have been multiple experiments or studies conducted on vehicle hacking dating back to as early as 2010.

As you can see, owning a vehicle with an impressive software system makes driving much more convenient, but it can also lead to the vehicle being hacked and taken over by those hackers. Be sure to update your system when prompted and keep on the lookout for recalls.

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