Just like with everything else in life, cars are becoming more connected than ever. They have smarter features, they celebrate The Internet Of Things, they have far more tech are the hood and, yes, that means they are in danger of being hacked. In fact, it is already happening now.
Don’t worry, we’re not at the stage where you need to stop using your car for fear someone will hack it, take over the driving like they are playing GTA V and put you in the kind of personal danger whereby you have to call an auto accident attorney and have possibly the weirdest conversation of your life – “it wasn’t me; the car just started driving itself”. However, that future may not be as far off as you may think thanks to autonomous cars being the next big thing.
Most cases right now are to do with breaking into cars with keyless entry without you even knowing it happened. However, the level of connectivity in cars has seen researchers able to hack a Jeep that was in transit from ten miles away. They were even able to control the wipers, adjust the air-con, fiddle with the radio and, wait for it, cut the transmission.
So, what can you do to protect yourself?
Protect your Fob At All Costs
Like we mentioned above, it is the keyless entry thing that is still the main concern and main culprit. This requires tampering or cloning your fob in some way, even if it is just the transmission it sends out. To protect yours, your options are about as wild and varied as they get. You can put yours in the freezer, the microwave, wrap it in aluminium foil, carry them around in a lead box or just get an RFID fob protector. The latter isn’t just the best, it is also the furthest down on the ridiculous-o-meter.
Get Rid Of Your Dongle
A lot of insurance companies are providing OBD II dongles to monitor your driving habits and thus adjust your insurance premiums accordingly. Safe drivers get safe driving discounts. Pretty cool, huh. The problem is, they connect to your car through a port and upload all the diagnostic information possible to your phone via Bluetooth. So, while you may get a few bucks off your insurance for good behaviour, you are doing so in exchange for an access point that easily hackable, meaning you could be a lot worse off. We’re not saying you have to get rid of these dongles, but if you do keep yours then make sure you unplug every time you leave your car. You know, just to be sure.
Look At For Phishing Attacks
Yes, it is pretty cool that you can unlock and start your car using your phone. What is pretty scary, however, is so can other people. That is where phishing attacks come in. Hackers are using phishing to get all the information they need to steal your belongings or simply drive away in your car, and all they need is a burner cell and access to a public WiFi system, meaning they are nigh on impossible to trace. So wise up to these scams and become a little less trusting of strangers.