Don't Let Hackers into your Car!

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First came the internet, and with the internet, the inception of cyber-crime - as hackers developed methods of subverting and controlling systems against the owners' wills, it should've been a foregone conclusion that they would one day use the same strategies against our methods of transportation. Luckily, you can take moves to make sure that your vehicle isn't hacked - and they aren't even especially difficult.

The underlying explanation for the rise of car-hacking is so simple as to be almost amusing - as automotive manufacturers added remote-access features to their more modern vehicles, lending owners the ability to check their vehicle's status remotely and from miles away, hackers saw a prime opportunity to subvert these remote-access systems and take malicious action against drivers.

Fortunately for the roads, the majority of high-profile car-hacking incidents have been intentional efforts by 'friendly' hackers to expose security flaws within automotive systems. Despite their good intentions, this exposure has led malicious hackers to pursue such 'projects' - and some vehicles have even been seen to allow the hacking of their transmissions and brake systems, rendering the cars inoperable or extremely dangerous - in that order.

There have also been incidents where drivers have their vehicles stolen without a sound, the automotive security systems apparently subverted - and the explanation is truly mind-boggling. In recent years, key-less entry systems have become ever more common often relying on a small fob held in the driver's pocket. This fob produces a localized wireless signal you can picture as a kind of small dome only a few feet wide, allowing you to unlock your vehicle by simply touching the car's handle with the fob in your pocket.

Digital Dashboard on Nissan

Of course, for hackers, these fobs represent a major security vulnerability - with a simple signal-boosting device, the hackers can expand the size of the wireless field and unlock your vehicle even if you're nowhere near it. This is a common method of car theft in suburban communities, where a hacker may point a signal-booster into a home from the sidewalk and successfully unlock a vehicle while no one is any the wiser.

To prevent this kind of grand theft auto, it's been suggested that car owners with key-less fobs place their fobs inside a fridge or other signal-proof device whenever they're not using it - particularly at night. At the same time, it can be equally helpful to simply mount and install a steering wheel lock, which is impossible to subvert with standard hacks.

Of course, these hacking incidents have also happened when the vehicle was in motion and driven by the owner - to avoid these kinds of attacks, it's vital that you keep your car's software up-to-date and receive updates from your vehicle's manufacturer, which can ensure that your computerized systems have no remaining vulnerabilities.

If you have more questions about preventing hacking or you want to purchase a vehicle with a more secure system, contact us at Texas Nissan of Grapevine, Texas and speak with an agent today