Law

Can Your Car Be Hacked?

Your car has basically become metal AI on rubber wheels. That also means it is vulnerable to hacking. There’s no doubt computers and phones can be hacked. But what about your car? Can your car be hacked? 

As far back as 2015, wiseguys proved they could control a Jeep through a flaw in the entertainment system. The hackers turned up the AC, controlled the music and got the windshield wipers going before cutting the transmission. The car manufacturer Chrysler was forced to give updates to 1.4 million car owners. It was the very first cybersecurity vehicle event in memory.

Can Your Car Be Hacked?

The most likely attack is potential theft by hacking the ignition system through the keyless entry point. Well over 100 car models with keyless access are vulnerable to typical digital attack methods, and yet astonishingly, less than half of drivers state they would be concerned about vehicle theft in a car. Perhaps it is time drivers recognize this threat. 

Your Car’s Security Flaws

Hackers look for weaknesses to exploit, and security flaws are not uncommon in vehicle manufacturing. From phone phishing or searching for car access to key jamming, car hacking is on the rise. In fact, all vehicle-related crimes, including theft, are up. The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown gave criminals plenty of time to ponder how to hack into not only your bank account but also your personal vehicle. 

Common Approaches Hackers Use

Typically, vehicles with keyless access are targeted. The car is accessed by the use of a relay that amplifies a signal sent to the key. This signal can be sent from anywhere nearby, so long as it reaches the vehicle parked in the driveway or garage. 

You can protect yourself. Keys can be protected. Easily block their signal by putting them in, for example, a microwave. But research shows most drivers do not disable their keys when they are not using them. 

Security Weak Spots

It is common to hear about phishing scams, although you might not suspect such a scam would involve your car. Hackers can hijack your car’s Wi-Fi by emailing you a malicious link. Once you click on the link, they take control. 

Tire Pressure Monitors 

It is very easy for hackers to use sensors that are mounted inside tires to display tire pressure and also track the vehicle’s whereabouts. This is great if you are the parent of a teenager, but not so great if you are trying to get away from that shady ex.

Remote Control Smartphone Apps

Some apps allow you to find and start your car from your phone. This is a very convenient feature when exiting the mall and searching for your vehicle, however there are risks attached. 

These apps can be manipulated by hackers to find, unlock and potentially even shut off the engine of vehicles nearby through the remote access that is granted. 

Who Is Responsible for Hacking Events

Any lawsuit that involves a car and a hacker will most likely also involve the vehicle manufacturer and the software company. The issue will stay on top of any vulnerabilities, for example in software, as they come up. 

Product liability cases arise when manufacturers are aware of, or should have been aware of, a dangerous defect. If your car is wrecked, a car accident lawyer will be your best resource. Laws have only recently been put on the books as the auto industry has become increasingly digitized. A competent lawyer will be up to date on recent litigation and able to advise you of next steps.

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