Automobiles have changed a great deal since they were first invented—no longer big, loud, smoking beast; new cars are sleek, stylish, and packed full of gadgets and electronics. Every year they become more and more electronic which raises the question, could your vehicle be hacked?
In the past, the only people who could unlock your car were common burglars and locksmiths (preferably a car lockout service that you trust), but now times have changed. The electronics in your car may open the door to a whole new type of vehicle theft, one you may only think is possible in science fiction, hacking.
Is It Even Possible?
Let’s start with the basics, new vehicles are packed with electronics, those electronics are tied into a computer, and that computer controls nearly every operational aspect of your vehicle. On top of that, you have Bluetooth technology, wireless connectivity, and satellite navigation and radio—all giving would-be hackers access points to your vehicle.
Several universities and facilities have done research and testing into the possibility of vehicles being hacked and have been able to gain access and prove that it is possible. Another possible entry point is built right into your vehicle; it’s called an OBD II port, and all cars in the U.S. are legally required to have one.
This port is designed for certified mechanics to interface with a device to diagnose problems with a vehicle, but what if a thief was able to gain access to one of these devices or create their own? They would have full access to your vehicle and possibly even start it up and drive it away.
Another possible cause for concerns is, there’s a possibility where a car can be controlled without a hacker going near or even having to touch it.
What Can Be Done To Prevent This?
There are all kinds of security features available or installed on most new vehicles, though none of them are full proof. If a thief wants something bad enough, they will find a way to take it. Just like security features and software, better and higher encryption rates, firewalls and other features have helped to better protect computer networks, cell phones and other wireless devices; automobile manufactures will have to do the same.
Unfortunately, you can’t just install an antivirus program into your vehicle, at least not yet. For now, all we can do is follow the same practices we have always used to keep our vehicles safe.
We are not yet to the point where someone can hack into your vehicle form blocks or miles away and drive it off, but the possibilities are there. One day we will reach a point where brick toting car thieves are gone and replaced by tech savvy hackers wielding laptops or tablets.
We live in a digital age, and as our lives become increasingly dependent upon electronics. Automobiles will become more and more computerized so it will be up to automakers to insure that the security is in place to prevent or greatly reduce the chances of your vehicle being hacked.