Cars have been upgraded over the years, and keep on being upgraded over a period of time. They have gone from being a body shell on wheels to essentially being a computer on wheels. We all love the tech inside our cars and we cannot deny the fact that it has made our lives a lot easier and more convenient.
You have the latest and greatest safety features, along with the driver assistance features that would have seemed like science fiction even a few decades ago. Computers are everywhere, and no car comes without one these days.
It doesn’t matter which car you own – whether it is a basic 2021 Chevrolet Spark or a luxury SUV like the 2021 GMC Yukon or even a supercar like the 2021 Ford GT, all of them have one thing in common – computers and being connected to the internet. And like all the things that are connected to the internet, it can be hacked remotely from miles away.
Or from anywhere on the planet. You might think that something like your phone or your laptop can be hacked. But did you know that even your car can be hacked? And unlike your Facebook account being hacked, this can put your life directly in danger.
How do hackers hack your car?
Moshe Shlisel, a GuardKnox Cyber Technologies operative recently said there is a war going on between the United States and Iran. He made it clear that because of the ongoing wars around the globe, hacking a car can be a big problem. Hackers can hack a car in a number of ways, which can put the lives of the occupants in immediate danger. Any personnel from anywhere in the world can hack any car at any place if it is connected to the internet, which modern cars are.
There are a number of ways in which hackers can hack your car. They can access the most vulnerable parts of the car and make the computer perform undesirable actions. Starting from the basics, they can do simple things, such as hack into the climate control system and change the climate, change your destination on the navigation or even change the radio station.
They can also hack into the tire pressure monitoring system and cause it to display undesirable results. They can also change the vehicle diagnostics to cause you to make a repair that you didn’t really need. Or, they might also randomly turn on the windshield wipers intermittently or continuously.
The ones mentioned above can be very concerning and annoying to deal with. But hackers can do far more than that. They can cause some actual concerns which might endanger the lives of those on board. For example, the brakes on your car are actually controlled by the onboard computer.
Hackers can access different parts of the vehicle and can disable the brakes so that pressing the brake pedal leads to no effect at all. This can be very dangerous and being unable to brake on the road can lead to a major accident. Other than that, the acceleration in your vehicle is also controlled by the onboard computer and hackers can control it too.
If they gain access to it, they might be able to forcefully accelerate your car and it might lead to an unforeseen crash. These can be very dangerous and are a major cause of concern for car manufacturers today.
Some people also claim this to be a national security risk because hackers from other countries can hack cars and cause all sorts of trouble, which can lead to big security concerns. If you use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, or if your phone is connected to your car in any way, hackers can gain access to your smartphone too.
Though in real life, hackers do not tend to hack vehicles since they cannot steal your identity or extract money from it somehow, the possibility is not completely erased. Vehicle manufacturers are well aware of this malicious threat and they try their best to develop techniques to counter this problem.
How can car manufacturers offer countermeasures against hacking?
Nowadays, car hacking is a possibility. Vehicle manufacturers are well aware of it, but how can they prevent it? How can they make sure that the car is unbreachable? While it is not possible to completely erase the probability of hacking anything, car manufacturers can still take up steps.
Today’s cars come with a lot of remote-control features, such as a wireless key fob, which only increases the vulnerabilities. Car manufacturers must improve the encryption on the key fob frequencies. They can also apply features such as multi-factor authentication and they might also add biometrics to further strengthen the way people access their car.
They must also strengthen and secure their APIs (which are an interface through which all the software is tied to the car). Modern authentication features should be used. Regular updates must be pushed via OTA updates and all the features and authentication must always be kept up-to-date to avoid any vulnerabilities.
You, as an owner, can also take steps to keep yourself safe. Now, if you drive a car from two decades or so ago, you have no need to worry about being hacked. But if you own a modern car, then you can take some steps to keep yourself from getting hacked. You must limit the wireless systems that you use for your car as that only increases vulnerability.
Also, you should never leave any password or sensitive information inside the car, since any thief can steal your information. You must also not download anything shady on your car’s website, or any apps from unverified sources, as that might be malware or keylogger.
You must also keep tabs on your car, always looking for recalls and keeping up-to-date on all the news. It’s highly you, as a normal citizen, would ever be hacked, at least inside your car, but the chances are not zero.
Many cybersecurity officials have declared car hacking as a national security risk and it might as well turn out to be. The tension between countries can lead to some unforeseen cybercrime. You must keep up-to-date with the latest news and whatever goes on in the car world.
Also, car manufacturers should try their best to keep their cars safe. Nothing is “unhackable”, but there’s nothing you can’t protect against either.