With Automobile Hacking are Older Models More Secure?

Posted on August 11, 2017 by Jaece Hogue

Ah, technology.  It seems nowadays just about everything is electronic, wireless, Bluetooth connected or otherwise compatible with the latest and greatest in computing technology.  Your phone can talk to your car and alert you that you need an oil change while you’re busy texting your oven to preheat the broiler or the washing machine to run the spin cycle (imagine if those messages got mixed).  While modern technology usually equals modern convenience and time savings, it also creates potential vulnerabilities for hackers and other criminals who want to steal or otherwise access your vehicle’s systems.  While the idea of your car trying to interpret a “spin cycle” command meant for another household appliance is comically implausible, it turns out that a would-be robber gaining remote access to a vehicle’s acceleration, breaking or security system remotely, isn’t exactly unrealistic.

A Host of Vulnerabilities

According to researchers at the University of Washington and UC San Diego, hacking a sophisticated onboard computer system in your car is much easier than you think.  Modern computer systems are designed to tell drivers, mechanics and even the U.S. Government (helllooo big brother) minute details about your car’s performance, maintenance history and emissions.  On the outside, this kind of technology makes for an efficient driver experience and nearly flawless operation as various systems communicate and interact to make driving your car more engaging, effortless and entertaining than ever before.

What this interconnectedness also does, however, is create multiple entry areas for those looking to exploit security loopholes.  Multiple systems communicating, researchers say, creates multiple areas where differing software platforms may not mesh properly.  This creates security loopholes and access points for the criminally minded and tech savvy.

Just What’s at Risk

But just what are the implications of these loopholes on your daily driving experience?  As an example, your car’s OBD port, a little electronic connection required for emissions and diagnostic testing, can be used by someone with sophisticated computer networking knowledge to turn on your car, engage or disengage locks and, ultimate, make off with your vehicular asset.  In one lab experiment, researchers were even able to wirelessly connect to a vehicles onboard computer system and take control of vital safety and mechanical operations.  Scary stuff, and we haven’t even begun talking about the whole autonomous car bit yet.

So, Technology is Bad, Right?

While your first inclination after reading all this gloom and doom about technology may be to make a quick trip to the junk yard for that old 1960’s Chevy, rust-laden or not, it turns out that these vulnerabilities can be corrected with the right knowledge and expertise.  After learning of some of the most common security exploits, many car manufacturers took it upon themselves to plug up the loopholes, albeit a few years after they were originally discovered.

The good news is that the everyday driver (that’s you) has other options when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of their vehicle.  Experienced security and locksmith experts, such as those at A-1 Locksmith, have the industry and technological knowledge to assess your individual vehicle needs and recommend and install a security system that locks down known hacker access points.  A-1’s experienced security staff has a wide range of experience in the corporate and private consumer world.  To rest easier and find out if your car is as protected as it should be, call A-1 to discuss an automobile security system that won’t leave you vulnerable to a bored computer genius residing in their parent’s basement.  A-1 Locksmith has everything you need to ensure your vehicular peace of mind.

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