Elon Musk with his visionary accomplishment of the Tesla smart car has revolutionized the way we drive in the 21st century. Now, in the era of a new car in your garage that epitomizes something out of a sci-fi film; it’s unrealistic not to ask – What will they think of next? These days smart cars have quickly outpaced the technological devices created two decades ago.
Smart cars are now equipped to even check social media platforms for you, ad to add to their self-driving capabilities, and even parallel parking – it does all effortlessly. However, while the gold settles on one of the greatest inventions by mankind, beneath all that technological glitter hides an expensive ugly truth.
Dark web hackers have revealed that although a difficult fete, they can skilfully hijack some models of smart cars. The most skilled cybercriminals have displayed that they can control the transmission, steering, and brakes from an undisclosed location.
It’s a horrifying revelation realizing that – one moment you might be going about your average day, the next, your brand-new car is nowhere to be seen, snatched from under your nose while you’re at work.
This threat is now an everyday reality since a smart car is considered an IoT device. IoT devices aren’t the most complicated inventions of our time, nearly 90% of all smart home gadgets are “smarter” than an IoT. Unfortunately, IoT devices are connected to networks that share info with other devices – for the sake of efficiency. It is convenient, sure, but this is what leaves most smart cars vulnerable to countless attacks.
How hackers steal smart cars
One such case was exposed in the Hyundai and Genesis smart car apps, “MyHyundai” and “MyGenesis” respectively. Because of a few little chinks in the code, smart models after 2012 were easily susceptible to remote attacks, which even allowed the models to start and unlock.
According to security researchers, similar attacks also surfaced in the SiriusXM “smart vehicle” platform, which includes several premium brands like Acura, Honda, Infiniti, and Toyota. With an extremely streamlined breach, these cars were able to be remotely honked, started, unlocked, and more without the owner’s permission.
How to prevent your smart car from being hacked?
At this very moment, tech researchers aligned with the smart car industry are racing to patch these flaws in their programming software. However, it is still more important that smart car owners do everything in their power to keep their smart new ride safe from criminal hackers, who continue to unleash even more sophisticated and complex hacks.
Firstly, the best thing you can do is make sure that your manufacturer has your most recent contact info, so they can easily reach you when it comes to tech-related recalls and other announcements. By keeping in touch with your manufacturer, they may even be able to track your vehicle should it be stolen, as well as retrieve it for you or compensate you for errors made on their end.
Next, you’ll want to update your car’s software periodically, as this could be the one game changer in keeping your prized asset safe. Always stay in the loop and know every time your manufacturer issues a new update for your car’s firmware. The embedded software for every smart car is always updated easily to plug vulnerabilities to stamp out bugs that can make your car more vulnerable to criminal hackers. You can easily download updates from the manufacturer’s official site, and then install the new smart car updates in your car via a USB drive.
Thirdly, be weary of third-party apps. As interesting and efficient as many of these software may be, such apps easily create loopholes and flaws that put your car at risk – as they’re breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty hacks and malware just waiting to bypass most security systems.
Some apps are even linked to dark web hackers, and if downloaded allow for unauthorized communication in the IoT data pools. Most cyber-attacks begin with threat actors implanting malicious codes inside software applications, which serve only one purpose – to steal critical data of the target vehicle.
For the safety of your smart car, you must ensure that you have subscribed to a trusted firewall to filter all vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), as well as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, only allowing authorized entities to communicate with your smart car.