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The Internet of Cars – How to Protect the Connected Cars from Cyberattacks?

As this happens to Tom Cruise in Minority Report, a car can be controlled remotely by simply taking control of its onboard computer. Hackers come to prove it by raising the question of whether the connected cars are secure or not. Just like computers or other mobile devices, the solution to this problem is to protect against cyberattacks.

The security concerns of connected cars

New technologies are bound to make life easier on the road. Features such as driver assistance and vehicle diagnostics, which informs the driver of failures or the need for repair, we are offered today. Newer models have even benefited from a rise in range with the integration of Wi-Fi to communicate the vehicle with the Internet, receive traffic information, relaying performance statistics, and even allow easy connection between the vehicle and the user thereof appliances. Unfortunately, this also means that a vehicle with these features is vulnerable to security breaches.

The recent hacking test performed under control of a Jeep Chrysler showed that a malicious person could completely take over the vehicle brakes, the steering wheel and accelerator pedal. Technically, it can be said that the vehicle was not driven by his driver, but by another person. And it is impossible to say what the consequences of such a situation.

How to prevent attacks on connected cars?

To prevent any person driving or having fun with your smart car, keep these points in mind:

  • Make your checks – If your smart car is connected to the Internet, you should be aware of possible safety measures from the manufacturer. Perform a little research on the internet to check for problems that the seller could have “forgotten” to report.
  • Stay on the page – The update of your vehicle software is not as easy as on a computer, but just as necessary. While most of the updates can be performed online, some may require a visit to the dealership. Call the dealer and regularly check if an update is available.
  • Protect your vehicle against your devices – When you plug your phones, laptops or other tablets on the Wi-Fi network of the vehicle, you potentially expose your car to malware. Before connecting, make sure your devices are secured by antivirus software.
  • Close the “side doors” – Use Virtual Private Network (VPN) when you use your devices to communicate with the wireless network of the vehicle. This greatly reduces the risk of taking something without your knowledge in your online business. Connecting to a VPN will encrypt your connection, while guarding against attempts by hackers to intrude and infiltrate your devices.
  • Be careful when you use Bluetooth – While most security risks discovered so far come from the Internet, Bluetooth does remain a gateway for “intruder”. It would be wise to disable it when it is not in use.

Even if you follow all these precautions, it is impossible to guarantee that your vehicle will be 100% protected against cyberattacks. What have chills in the back when the manufacturers are preparing to serve you cars without drivers? Yes, like that used by Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

We need to well prepare for this connected vehicle trend even though now we still have the opportunity to buy a conventional car that we have full control on everything. It is always important to keep informed of the risks that may arise on the road. After all, this article could possibly save your life in the future.

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