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Vehicle computers can become magnets for hacking
March 29, 2016, 1:53 pm

Security entities and experts are warning about the threat posed by automobile hackers gaining control of a vehicle’s various driving features, as well as its wireless technologies used in diagnostic, navigation and entertainment systems. Third-party devices connected to vehicles through diagnostics ports, and mobile devices connected to vehicles also could open the door for hackers, they warned.

Consumers should verify with vehicle manufacturers any recall notices or software updates they receive; avoid downloading software from third-party websites or file-sharing platforms; use a trusted USB or SD card storage device when downloading and installing software to their vehicles; and ensure their vehicle software is up to date, the security agencies and vehicle manufacturers warn.

Anything electronic that talks wirelessly can be hacked, but hackers need to have fairly specific access to the vehicle as every car manufacturer has a different protocol for doing things like remote start and remote unlock. So potential hackers would have to target a specific car manufacturer and have specific information on their proprietary protocols for access before gaining access to the vehicle.

With a lot more network-connected vehicles expected to roll-off production lines in the future, the automobile industry needs to not only move faster in coming up with robust solutions but also be proactive in identifying and removing weaknesses.

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