Car Hacking: What Is It & How To Protect Yourself?
Automobile Hacking is a recent trend concerning the exploitation of vulnerabilities in smart cars.
Automotive hacking, especially car hacking has become way more popular owing to the fact that with the contemporary period, the cars have turned to “smart cars”. This lays out the fact that these cars work with the help of connected internet. The Electronic Control Units or the ECUs are on-board computers, which use multiple networks and various communication protocols like the Local Interconnect Network (LIN), Controller Area Network (CAN) and as well as Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) to establish communication with one another. All of these components, being present on a car although makes it a “Smart Car” but at the same time risks cyber hacking.
What Is Car Hacking? How Can Hackers Attack Cars?
Hacking into a car refers to exploitation and manipulation of the vulnerabilities located in a car’s electronic control unit. The motive behind hacking cars is to gain access to some of the crucial parts of the targeted car or extract useful user information.
This issue had attracted a lot of attention since 2015 when the cybersecurity researchers named Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller had remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee using just a laptop from a house located 10 miles away. The Jeep was driving on St. Louis street.
The driver who was a journalist named Andy Greenberg was unknowingly a part of the experiment and had no idea what was happening to him. The researchers had exploited the susceptibilities of the Uconnect (internet-connected system in Fiat Chrysler). It permitted the owners to control the navigation of the car along with the entertainment system. They could make phone calls, remotely lock the car, synchronize media and also take over controls of air conditioning of the vehicles, steering, brakes, and windshield wipers. Moreover, they were successful in conducting a brake failure crashing the Jeep into a ditch.
How Frequent Is Car Cybersecurity Hacks?
A prediction had rolled out that stated the future cars would be connected to the internet. It further mentions that 125 million vehicles will be brought to the market as smart cars by the end of 2022. With the latest issue of car hacking and growth in the black hat hackers, future cars seem to be in grave danger of cyberattacks. There will be much more chaos than today if hackers become mainstream car hackers.
The car-hacking threat is growing immensely as the hackers can hack the keyless wireless fobs to track the compromised cars by controlling the GPS tracking software.
An Israeli firm named Upstream has put forward statistics on the car hacking incidents that states that there is a rise in car hacks by 123% from 2018 to 2019. There were 78 cases in 2018 while 176 cases had been recorded in 2019. Back in 2019, Toyota had announced the exposure of its databases containing the personal information of 3.1 million users.
How Can You Prevent Hacking Cars?
While it is undoubtedly a thing to worry about the hacked vehicles and its increasing frequency, but simultaneously there are ways to prevent the occurrences. The initial protection needs to come from the car manufacturers. However, the car owners can keep cyber hacking of their cars at bay by following the below tips:
- Safeguarding The Wireless Car Fobs
The wireless car fobs let the unauthorized person gain access to your car needless of a key. If the fob is somewhere nearby and you try to open the door handle of the car, it sends a signal to the fob instructing the car door to unlock. With farness, the signal weakens. But if the hacker is smart enough, he could trick your car to understand that the fob is nearby and unlock the car. All they do is set the fob range nearby.
- Resetting Passwords For GPS
A smart action to prevent car hacks would be to reset the GPS passwords quite often. Never keep the default passwords after you have bought your car. A secure password would be difficult for hackers to crack.
- Regularly Updating The Car Software
It is recommended that you update the software regularly as soon as you are prompted with an update. Older software contains bugs that need to be eradicated by installing the new updates. Additionally, it would be best if you put off the Bluetooth and Wifi when not in use so that the hackers cannot compromise your car using car hacking tools.
This is all about car hacking and what you need to do for preventing your car hack. We hope that new techniques and tips will surface soon on protecting your cars.