Your vehicle may be vulnerable to remote exploits, and the FBI wants to help secure your vehicle. In tandem with the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the FBI released a public service announcement that explains the best ways to secure your vehicle from hackers. Here’s what you need to know.
Yes, it’s possible for hackers to take control of a vehicle
Thanks to modern wireless communication technology, it’s possible to gain remote control over a vehicle. In tests performed by security experts, researchers were able to remotely perform vehicle functions, including locking doors, shutting down the engine, steering, and disabling the brakes. These exploits can be abused via wi-fi (if the car is connected to wi-fi or a device using wi-fi), or via the vehicle’s cellular data network if it has one.
If your car is connected to a wi-fi or cellular network, either through built-in devices or connected devices like your phone, you should be aware that your vehicle may be at risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalled almost 1.5 million cars over the past year due to these exploits. It’s a real threat, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
This is an increasing threat
As with most new technologies, internet-connected vehicles aren’t yet at a huge risk of being hacked. However, as connected vehicles become more common, so will threats to their technology. If this threat wasn’t at risk of becoming worse, the FBI probably wouldn’t be issuing a warning. In fact, the FBI wants you to help fight these exploits by securing your vehicle.
You can protect your vehicle from hacking
The FBI offers four simple tips for protecting your vehicle:
- Keep your vehicle and device software updated. Don’t ignore updates; many of them fix exploits like the ones that allow vehicle hacking. Also, be on the lookout for recalls related to your vehicle.
- Don’t modify your vehicle software unless you know what you’re doing. This should go without saying, but why not make it crystal clear?
- Be careful about which devices you connect to your vehicle. If your devices are at risk, so is your vehicle. Most standard devices (like Apple and Android devices) should be fine; just keep them updated.
- Know who has physical access to your vehicle. This is another seemingly obvious one, but be aware that physical vulnerabilities can increase your risk of remote vulnerabilities.
In this age of rapidly-progressing technology, it’s important to be aware of the new dangers that these technologies bring along with them. If your vehicle is connected to a network, be sure to make sure that it’s secure. Even if your vehicle is secure, be aware that someone else’s may be vulnerable.
For more information, read the FBI’s full public service announcement.