Scam of the day – January 23, 2015 – Update on automobile cybersecurity

When white hat hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek first alerted the automobile industry and the public about the vulnerability of cars to being hacked and taken over electronically as shown by their remote hacking of a Jeep Grand Cherokee through its infotainment system, we all took notice.  The threats posed by the rapidly expanding Internet of Things where so many products we use are becoming connected to the Internet are particularly significant when it comes to automobiles where these threats can be life threatening.    However, the government and the auto industry are responding to this threat. The Department of Transportation and 17 automakers have agreed to share information about cyberattacks on their vehicles. The industry has already set up the Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) as a clearinghouse for sharing such information.   They also have agreed to develop best practices.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also looking to expand its role in the managing of the security of Internet connected vehicles.  However, automakers are concerned that if NHTSA decides to go the route of enacting regulations, the process could take years and have a negative effect on innovation during this process.

TIPS

To find out if your particular vehicle uses the same Uconnect infotainment system that was exploited by Miller and Valasek as well as to get access to the software security updates necessary to patch those vulnerabilities, click on this link.  http://www.driveuconnect.com/software-update/

You also may want to talk to your car dealer and find out what the manufacturer of your particular car is doing to protect your car from cyberthreats.  Finally, if you are looking into buying a new car, you may want to consider getting one with the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay system that uses your smartphone to operate your car’s entertainment system.  This will give you greater control over the security systems you should already have built into your smartphone.