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Why Your Car’s Key Fob Is A Gateway For Hackers

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Parma S. is a 25-year old Tesla driver that was recently arrested by the California Highway Patrol.

He was arrested after videos showed him in the backseat of his Tesla while the car was driving down the freeway.

According to the CHP, they received several complaints about the car traveling on the highway without a driver.

A police officer spotted the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. He saw Parma climb from the backseat into the front seat.

Parma was arrested for two counts of reckless driving – and this wasn’t the first time he had been caught.

He had previously been issued a ticket for doing the same thing.

Despite Tesla calling the feature “autopilot,” a person is still required to drive the vehicle (there have been cases where driverless Tesla’s have crashed).

Technology advancements can be great, and these days our vehicles have many computer components…

But this means there are more ways for cybercriminals to attack our cars.

And in fact, key fobs are one of the most vulnerable aspects of newer cars.

About 30% of cyber hacks focused on cars involve the key fob…

A car’s IT system accounts for about 26% of cyber attacks targeting cars…

And about 13% of hacks focus on vehicle mobile applications.

The scary thing about car hacking is that 82% of them occur remotely with the hacker nowhere near the vehicle.

Depending on the specific car, around 2013 many vehicles had computer components that could open the door to hackers.

The newer the vehicle the more ways hackers can attack the car.

Considering this, here are a few things you can do to stop a hacker from getting into your vehicle.

Once you buy the car the manufacturer is off the hook for things like cyber attacks, and it’s up to you to keep your car secure.

Apps:

Just like your smartphone, newer cars have an application interface. This is usually some type of touch screen that has different apps and software.

But, unlike your computer or smartphone, you can’t use a strong password to keep the bad guys out.

Also, most cars don’t allow you to install a VPN to protect any information that is shared about your car.

Next time you go car shopping or stop by the dealership, ask about the threat detection features.

Ask if there is a way to set up multi-factor authentication for the vehicle’s interface.

For example, Tesla and Dodge have added two-factor authentication to certain models, and more manufacturers should follow the lead as the threat increases.

Turn off what you don’t use:

The smart features of your car (such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) use outside signals to work.

The problem is, hackers can use these same systems to hack into your car.

If you don’t use Bluetooth features in your car, then turn the Bluetooth off.

And if your car has a satellite radio that you don’t use, then disable the system.

You don’t want to leave any entry points open for hackers.

If you have Wi-Fi in your vehicle, use a strong password to access the Wi-Fi, just like you would protect your home internet.

Update your car’s firmware:

Like any computer system, updating your car’s software is critical. Similar to computer makers, car manufacturers are constantly updating the software in your car.

Remember to sign up for your car manufacturers’ notifications. This can help them contact you for recalls or software updates.

Sometimes the car software updates require you to take the vehicle to the dealership, but it’s worth the time and effort to make sure you have the latest updates.

If you have never had a software update for your car I would contact your local dealership.

Check to make sure everything is up to date. Some updates occur automatically if your car is Wi-Fi equipped.

Next time you go car shopping ask a lot of questions.

Ask the dealer about the security features. Also, find out how the vehicle is protected from hackers.

Today, along with worrying about car accidents and dangerous drivers…

We also need to be vigilant against hackers that could be breaking into our car from the other side of the world.

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