Car Hacking is on the Rise: Here’s What You Need to Know

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As the world moves more and more online, new risks and vulnerabilities emerge. In the last decade, we’ve gone from wondering whether a car could be hacked to wondering if a connected car could ever be safe from hacking. It’s been a literal wild ride in just over ten years.

Despite automakers’ significant efforts to secure their cars, hackers continue to find ways to compromise connected vehicles. The vulnerabilities surrounding shared, internet-connected, computer-piloting cars are distressingly prevalent. With aggressive plans and lots of firewalls, automakers are desperately trying to stay ahead of hackers. After all, the effects of a breach on a car, or fleet, can be devastating. 

Even as the risk of connected cars grows, people are generally more concerned with safety and technology failures than hacking threats. Of the respondents in a PC Magazine poll of over 2000 people, only 15% said hacking threats were a top fear.

Are you considering the purchase of a connected car? Here’s what you should know about connected cars and the risk of hacking.

Here’s What You Need to Know: 

  1. Even as more new cars are connected, the fears of connected vehicles are not new. The issue of hacking connected cars has been an issue for over a decade. We’re seeing more connected cars now and, therefore, more  breaches.
  2. The U.S. government has not yet initiated any strict standards regarding cybersecurity for the auto industry. In 2016, NHTSA released a best practices document with nonbinding guidance to the automotive industry to make vehicles safer from cybersecurity threats. The best practices did not force any compliance from the auto industry. Still, they only appealed to the automakers, promising that these practices would reduce the probability of an attack’s success and mitigate negative ramifications.
  3. Other countries are addressing automotive cybersecurity much more aggressively than the United States. The United Nations enforces rules that auto manufacturers must assess risk and report breaches. Similar regulations are going into force in 54 countries between now and 2024, including Europe, Japan, and South Korea. 
  4. You can expect that the U.S. will soon follow the new global standard for the automotive industry. Though the U.S. has been late to the game, given the global nature of the automotive industry, we can expect that the U.S. will likely initiate similar rules to those of the U.N. in time.

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