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December 1, 2023 | By christa

Cyber Safety On Four Wheels: Protecting Your Connected Car From Threats

The world is increasingly connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), and the automotive industry is no exception. According to Deloitte, there will be over 470 million internet-connected cars in use by 2025.

These high-tech vehicles offer drivers a host of convenient features, including vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, remote parking, and sophisticated infotainment systems. However, with these benefits come certain risks, as malicious actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities in these vehicles. Let’s explore how to protect your connected car from cyber threats and ensure the safety of your digital ride.

Ways Connected Cars Can Get Hacked

Internet-connected cars continuously transmit and receive data from various sources. In fact, they are equipped with hundreds of sensors that transmit data to connected computers. While this data enhances the driving experience, it also presents opportunities for cyber-attacks. Here are a few ways your car can be vulnerable to hacking:

  1. Physical Access: Attackers can physically break into connected cars and access their Electronic Control Unit (ECU) systems. Once inside, they can manipulate and take control of the vehicle’s functions.
  2. Software Vulnerabilities: Malicious actors can find vulnerabilities in the ECU and install malicious code, compromising the car’s security and potentially putting the drivers and passengers at risk.

How to Secure Your Connected Car

Protecting your connected car from cyber threats requires vigilance and careful practices. Here are some key steps to ensure your car’s safety:

  1. Remove Dongles: Be cautious of any aftermarket devices or dongles (devices that monitor performance and location) that connect to your car’s OBD-II port. Some of these devices may pose security risks. If you don’t need them, remove them.
  2. Key Fob Safety: Store your car’s key fob in a secure place, ideally in a metal drawer or Faraday bag. This prevents attackers from intercepting the fob’s signal and unlocking or starting your car remotely.
  3. Regular Software Updates: Ensure that your car’s software is regularly updated. Manufacturers often release updates that patch security vulnerabilities and enhance protection.

Best Practices for Remaining Safe

In addition to the above steps, consider the following best practices to further safeguard your connected car:

  1. Avoid Malicious Apps: Be cautious when installing third-party apps or software in your vehicle’s infotainment system. Stick to reputable sources to minimize the risk of installing malicious software.
  2. Encrypt Network Communications: Encrypt your car’s area network communications to protect sensitive data from prying eyes. This ensures data transmitted between your vehicle and external sources remains secure.
  3. Monitor the Car’s CAN Bus: Familiarize yourself with the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus in your car. Regularly monitor its activity to detect any unusual or unauthorized commands.

Connected cars can offer incredible convenience and innovation, but it’s essential to prioritize cybersecurity. As automotive technology continues to expand, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest developments and security measures. By following the steps outlined in this article and remaining vigilant, you can enjoy the benefits of your connected car while simultaneously minimizing the risks associated with cyber threats.

LeadingIT is a cyber-resilient technology and cybersecurity support provider. With our concierge support model, we provide customized solutions to meet the unique needs of nonprofits, schools, manufacturers, accounting firms, government agencies, and law offices with 20-200 employees in the Chicagoland area. Our team of experts solves the unsolvable while helping our clients leverage technology to achieve their business goals, ensuring the highest level of security and reliability.


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