Dashcam company BlackVue has a sharing tool in their vehicle camera that lets drivers share their video feeds with other participants on their private social network. What has now been exposed is that this data can be scraped by any hacker allowing them to track the vehicles and exposing drivers to risks.
Unrestricted Tracking of Vehicles and Drivers
BlackVue states that their social network allows drivers to share their video feed as they drive and allows viewers to see traffic and the sights from drivers all over the world. Unfortunately, the lack of security in this small social network exposes these same drivers to unlimited tracking and therefore to risk of vehicle theft, privacy invasion and more. Viewers can pull the real-time GPS location of any one vehicle or scrape the data from the entire network due to poor security by BlackVue.
BlackVue promotes their dashcams as a tool that protects drivers but its doubtful that those drivers understand the risks they are undertaking by effectively enabling a continuous tracking device on their vehicles. And if the camera is pointed inward, it is recording and transmitting information about the driver and passengers as well. Naturally, this exposure can be used not just by hackers, but by stalkers, car thieves, government agencies or anyone else.
Dashcams Used by Drivers for Protection
If you haven’t seen one, dashcams are small cameras attached to windshields of vehicles used to record the activity inside the car on the road in front. With as many as 25% of drivers on the road being uninsured in cities like Chicago, many drivers are concerned that if there is an accident, the other party will flee rather than sort our responsibility for the accident. Or worse, the other party may lie about what happened and you may take responsibility for an accident when you are not at fault.
Some rideshare drivers even have cameras pointing into the cabin of the vehicle to record what is going on and protect them in case of danger or complaints and dissuade bad behavior by third parties inside or outside of the vehicle. Drivers may operate both an outward and inward facing camera and record in the belief that this may protect their rights during encounters with law enforcement.
Whether the dashcam is pointed outside or inside, they basically work the same way. They are powered and turned on and record continuously so that they can capture activity without intervention by the driver. Many cameras can record several hours of activity and at they continuously record over the oldest footage. If something important happens, the driver can stop the recording and preserve it as evidence or for other use. Of course, cameras can also be used to record photographs and interesting sights along the road. A GPS-equipped dashcam automatically tracks the location of the photos and videos it takes, and thus the position of the vehicle at all times.
Benefits Yes, But At What Cost?
Dashcams have always been an aftermarket product and their conspicuous nature – typically attached to the windshield with a suction cup or bracket – can give thieves a reason to break into a vehicle to steal the valuable device. For this reason and for aesthetic considerations, some cameras are now integrated into rear view mirrors or visors so they are less obvious. Some also display what they are recording in real time similar to a backup camera.
Another feature of many dashcams with display capability is to act as navigation devices, recording the activity outside the car while also directing the driver along his planned route. Using the display for two purposes provides an extra benefit, especially for those drivers whose vehicles do not include a built-in navigation system or who prefer to use their vehicle’s primary screen to control the radio or other functions. The increasing reliance on smart devices, especially third-party devices like dashcams introduces new risks similar to apps installed on a smartphone. With the promised benefits come undisclosed risks.
What Can You Do?
MyProfyle reminds its users that exposure by hacks and data breaches are only one way our identities and privacy are put at risk by companies promoting fun new ways to use technology. Pervasive tracking, cloud storage and poor security mean that reams of new data about each of us are captured and stored every day. Become a Free Basic MyProfyle member today and learn more about risk factors like these so that you can take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and approve of reject use of your identity.