BBB explains how to keep your internet-enabled car safe from hackers

Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana reminds consumers that this Internet connectivity comes with a potential drawback.

It opens up your car to the risk of hacking, according to a new FBI alert.

How the Scam Works:

On new wifi-enabled cars and trucks, consumers can enable the dashboard of the vehicles to get GPS directions, connect through apps or stream music. But one recent study found that scammers can take advantage of security holes in the Wi-Fi connection to gain access to the car’s computer. Once they get in, hackers can steal data or even take control of your vehicle.

Connected car hacking is currently not very common, but as more people purchase connected cars, con artists are sure to find ways to use them for scams. This just happened with smartphones a few years ago, so the FBI wants consumers to be aware of the potential problem and to treat connected cars like other computer devices.

Tips to Keep Your Connected Car Secure:

  • Treat a connected car like a computer. The vehicle is a computer, so use the same common sense you would for keeping your laptop safe. Be especially cautious when allowing third-party devices to access your car’s computer for reasons other than vehicle diagnostics and maintenance.

 

  • Respect recalls. If you receive a recall notice for an issue related to your car’s computer system, treat it as seriously as you would a safety recall and get it taken care of right away. The notification will tell you how to get the problem fixed. Cyber recalls are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and you can check for all recalls at recalls.gov/nhtsa.html.

 

  • Keep vehicle software up-to-date. Manufacturers will do their best to patch security holes. System updates are annoying but vital for protecting your device. Always make sure you have the latest updates, “bug fixes,” and security patches, but only download those officially provided by the manufacturer.

 

  • Don’t make changes to vehicle software. Making unauthorized changes to the vehicle’s software may introduce new vulnerabilities that could be exploited by scammers.

 

  • Lock your car. Just as you password-protect your smartphone and laptop, be sure to lock your car and know who has access to it.

 

  • If you suspect your connected car has been hacked, contact the vehicle manufacturer or dealer. Provide them with a description of the problem so that they can work with you to resolve any potential cybersecurity concerns. Don’t forget to file a police report on the matter, as you will need it if identity theft results.

“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization. BBB strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

Please contact Better Business Bureau at (337) 981-3497 24 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.

BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.

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