Information Security for your Car

Automobile Information Security

By Matt Lang

Deeply integrated into our daily lives, laptops and cell phones are well-known targets for hackers. A less-obvious target that we also use almost every day has recently emerged—the car. Today’s cars are like big computers on wheels, and the consequences of a hack could be deadly.

To hack your car, all a hacker needs to do is find one weakness. Once inside, there are several ways they could manipulate the system. For example, a hacker could:

  • Control the HVAC system
  • Adjust the GPS
  • Force acceleration
  • Make diagnostic adjustments
  • Disable the brakes
  • Get into a phone that’s connected to your car

You can improve the security of your car by taking a few simple steps, including:

  • Keeping an eye on security-related vehicle recalls
  • Making sure to take your car to a reputable mechanic
  • Keeping your software up-to-date (for your car and devices that connect to your car)
  • Avoiding plugging any unknown USB drives into your car

The odds that hackers will target your car are low because doing so offers few financial incentives. Today, researchers are responsible for most of the known hacks, which require expertise, equipment, and physical access to the car.

Car manufacturers are aware of these security vulnerabilities and are committing time, effort, and resources to mitigate the risk. You can do your part to keep your car secure by regularly updating your software, staying current on security news, and avoiding connections to unknown devices in your car.

Further Reading