As cars get smarter they become vulnerable to electronic takeover. We know cars can be stolen, shut down or have safety features disabled remotely by hackers but did you know that if you sync your phone with your car, you open up your phone and yourself to hackers via your car?
It’s pretty convenient to operate your phone through your car’s infotainment system. Listen to music, have text messages read to you and of course, make phone calls. But when you sync your phone with a car, you are giving the car access to your phone. But your car’s Bluetooth security is weak which makes it easy for hackers to access your car and in turn, all the personal information on your phone.
There are hundreds of computer systems in modern vehicles. They control everything from the satellite radio to ABS braking to the collision prevention system in the most sophisticated new cars. In recent years, we have seen many stories about hacking these systems. The news has generally involved hacking the car itself not the personal data of the driver.
Yes, it’s scary to imagine your airbag being deployed in traffic, the brakes being activated, or the radio turned up to full by a mischievous hacker but since here really generally a way to profit from this, most of these stories have made us think, “That would be bad, but it’s unlikely to happen to you.”.
But what if someone could remotely hack your car and instead of turning up the radio, they downloaded the contents of your phone? All your personal information, text messages, contacts and who knows what else? Would that leave you vulnerable to identity theft? Yes it would. Remember that this applies not only to syncing your phone with the car’s infotainment system but also charging it via the USB port. The only safe way to charge a phone in a car without connecting it to the car is via the cigarette lighter.
Auto manufacturers are aware of the problem. They are working to improves security but that’s always an arms race with hackers. They are also embracing the good hackers but sponsoring competitions and “bug bounties” to help identify and correct security vulnerabilities. The fact is that cars are sophisticated, change constantly and we expect more from them every year. That means manufacturers rush ahead with unproven technology that may work as intended but still have security vulnerabilities.
So what can you do? MyProfyle has two main tips for you. First, do not ever connect your phone to someone else’s car, especially a rental car. Doing so means information from your device is transferred to the car and you can be sure that some of that information will always be there. Moreover, while you are connected, there’s a good chance that everything on your phone is accessible much like public WiFi.
Second, if you are worried about your car’s systems being hacked, do not connect devices like Insurance company devices and dongles to your car’s remote diagnostic port, the OBD-II port underneath your dashboard. These have a many uses including tracking car activity, locating your vehicle and reporting on your driving habits. Many of these devices have incredibly weak security and it’s like leaving your key in the door to your car and walking away.
At MyProfyle, we believe this threat is further proof that everyone’s information is at risk from many different sources and that we are all exposed multiple times per year. The solution to identity fraud is not to try to lock your identity or seek unobtainable privacy but to control your identity – not just your credit – by putting yourself in the position know of, approve or decline activity conducted in your name. That’s MyProfyle Free For Life ™ Identity Protection.