Can hackers carjack you?

Can hackers carjack you?

Internet-connected devices permeate every area of our lives, which gives criminals more attack opportunities than ever before.

Every device connected to the internet presents an added risk.

It’s important that you never use devices that don’t have top-notch security — even when those devices are using the manufacturer’s default settings.

At the same time, ignoring technology in the name of cybersecurity risk is bound to result in your business failing to keep up in today’s competitive environment.

Today, it’s not just your desktop and laptop computers or smartphones you need to worry about.

Your car isn’t the only thing worth stealing

When people think of car-related crimes, they usually think of theft of the actual vehicle or its contents.

Did you know that one of the biggest risks is attacks waged against connected vehicles?

The systems in your vehicle also generate data, even if you don’t have a self-driving car.

It’s likely your car is integrated with a wide range of consumer applications ranging from GPS to in-car entertainment.

Connected cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Even budget vehicles manufactured in 2015 or later come with on-board computers that can interface with smartphones and other internet-connected devices.

For example, vehicle-tracking systems may hold personally identifiable information (PII) and even financial data such as where you work or do your banking.

Hackers might also gain access to location and routing information to enable physical theft of the vehicle or its contents.

The proliferation of vehicle-borne computing systems is a proverbial pandora’s box.

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Overcoming the lack of built-in security

Now that things have evolved to the point where other technologies have become mainstream, such as embedded SIM cards and payment apps for things like road tolls. All these systems are potential targets for hackers.

Like many industries, the automotive sector has little historical experience in tackling digital security threats, and rigorous cybersecurity testing and training isn’t part of its DNA yet.

Operating systems used in on-board computers are similar to those used in any other computer but have extensive manufacturer customizations.

In most cases, these computers vary enormously between year and model, which means effective updates take more time to create and roll out.

In many respects, automotive computer systems are like those in any other application.

They consist of multiple components and run off operating systems, firmware, and applications that need to be kept up to date.

Naturally, the risks are much greater the more integration there is with critical on-board systems.

For example, in some vehicles, a hacker might be able to get into tracking and location information via an on-board entertainment system. Similarly, viruses can spread throughout any connected system in the vehicle just like they can in any network.

Until certain cybersecurity minimums are mandated, you now need to account for a car’s digital security before making a final decision.

Finding the balance between security and innovation

On the bright side, new legislation and globally recognized standards are helping manufacturers address cybersecurity.

But you can’t afford to take anything for granted. Early adopters of any technology should always be mindful of the risks they’re taking by jumping in so early.

Lightning-fast 5G connectivity and new in-vehicle services are on the horizon, and it’s more important than ever to apply the rules and standards of cybersecurity to vehicles too.

Since your car lasts much longer than other connected systems, a little extra research is well worth it.

Kosh Solutions helps businesses mitigate risk and drive growth through dependable solutions and expert guidance. If you want more cybersecurity information, download our free eBook: A Small-Business Owner’s Guide to Malware.

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