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Car Hacking is a Real Danger, Experts Say

Posted on - Monday, January 4, 2016 under Car Accident

Losing control of your car now means more than just skidding on black ice or hydroplaning on a wet road. You may now be vulnerable to losing control of your car to hackers.

Two hackers working for Wired magazine remotely took control of a Jeep Cherokee’s steering, brakes and transmission and brought it to a halt on a highway this summer, raising concerns in the auto industry and in Congress about the vulnerability of our increasingly computerized vehicles.

recent report by Intel Security outlined how the vast array of computerized and Internet-connected systems in new cars – stability control, accident avoidance systems, navigation systems, and Bluetooth enabled communication just to name a few –  mean that both control of the vehicle as well as personal information can be accessed by hackers with potentially catastrophic results. As Intel says in its report:

““Remember to lock your car” is no longer sufficient advice to protect your vehicle. U.S. Senator Edward Markey’s Tracking & Hacking report on gaps in automotive security and privacy, as well as recent attacks on car computer systems from different manufacturers, are just two examples of the increased threat. Computer attacks are now a clear and present danger for car users, dealers, manufacturers and suppliers.”

In response to this growing threat, bills have been introduced in Congress to study and come up with solutions to the problem. In the House of Representatives, the “SPY Car Study Act” would require a “cross-sector study to examine detection protocols, deterrence techniques and privacy best practices” for cars and other vehicles.

In the Senate, a bill introduced in July would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to develop standards to protect drivers’ privacy and to guard against vehicle hacking.

As reported in CIO magazine, one security expert recommends these four steps to protect yourself and your car from hackers:

  • Contact a car dealer, or your mechanic, and make sure the car’s software is up to date. If you do not have the latest software version, update it immediately.
  • Don’t “jailbreak” the software in your car or on the devices that connect to it. (Jailbreaking removes manufacturer security protections to enable advanced features.) Doing so voids the warranty, and could open the door to hacks.
  • Don’t plug random devices into the car’s USB ports or OBD2 diagnostic port. Avoid devices like the dongles supplied by Progressive and other auto insurance companies, which use the Internet to broadcast data on your driving habits.
  • If you want to use a connected-car device or app, do some research, or ask the manufacturer, if it has been hardened before using it. If not, think twice about the risks versus benefits.

At The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. Please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.