Share This Article
Sign up to stay
Cars have joined the Internet of Things, and with any connected device, you should follow some security best practices to keep your car’s system safe.
Today, many vehicles on the road are wheeled, portable computers. Estimates suggest that new vehicles rolling off the assembly line have between 1,300 and 3,000 microchips inside. Some cars now even connect to the internet, which makes streaming music easy but opens the possibility for cyber threats.
What are Connected Cars?
Connected cars are vehicles that communicate digitally with other devices, infrastructure, and even other cars. Many such cars connect to the internet through a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network), which is transmitted through radio waves.
Commonly, connected cars offer features like real-time navigation, entertainment systems, and proactive diagnostics. Oftentimes, modern cars become a hotspot for the people inside and allow for internet use. Along with connected devices, appliances, cameras, and toys, connected cars are part of the Internet of Things, the broad network of web-linked items that goes far beyond laptops and smartphones.
Why You Want to Secure Your Car’s Computers
The issue with IoT devices is that everything that connects to the internet has inherent vulnerabilities. This doesn’t just mean a hacker could potentially take over your steering wheel, but a cybercriminal might be able to infiltrate personal data on a laptop connected to your car’s unprotected wi-fi. By adopting some behaviors, you can fortify your car and the rest of your IoT network.
How to Choose Connected Cars Safely
Factors to Consider
When shopping for a connected car, assess its cybersecurity features along with kicking the tires. Ensure that the vehicle provides a secure driving experience. Consider factors like:
- Device and software compatibility
- Included security features
- Ongoing technical support
Along with asking about driving range, find out how a connected car collects, stores, and secures data. Inquire about:
- How does the car connect to the internet?
- What data does it collect?
- How does the car’s software receive updates?
Go Beyond the Default Password
Once you’re in the driver’s seat, take a few moments to improve the security of your car:
- Set unique, long, and complex passwords for every associated account, and change any default password
- Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for any account that permits it
- Turn on automatic software updates to get the latest security features from the manufacturer
Stay Secure on the Road
Your connected car generates a massive amount of data. Safeguard this information by reviewing app permissions, deleting unnecessary data, and opting out of sharing when possible. Equip yourself with tools and techniques to monitor and control your connected car’s data and privacy. Virtual private networks (VPNs) add another layer of security to any connected device, for example. Incorporate these tools in your automobile’s toolkit along with socket wrenches and the spare tire. This way, you can safeguard your car’s network and protect the data it collects.
Connected cars provide a futuristic driving experience today. But to fully enjoy the bells and whistles of an internet-connected vehicle, you must adopt some security and privacy measures. Then you, your car, and your passengers can enjoy the information superhighway while driving down the actual highway.