Before You Buy Your Next Car

Car Lineup

Well you checked the safety record, the gas mileage savings, the recall lists, the insurance lists, all the price lists, the test drive and you are now ready to buy that new car? I would suggest one more thing to ask and check, and that is the security lists on the car in question. Why? Look at all of the security failures brand new cars face each and every day…

In the GM world you have the OnStar hacks… Some one can open your doors and turn on the motor. In the Chrysler world you have the Uconnect bug allowing hackers to take full control over the car. In the Ford world you have Microsoft (enough said). All the new cars have some security flaw due to the half hart engineering of new technology put into cars. The electric Telsa Cars now need a security update to prevent someone stealing the cars. On a prime-time evening show recently reporters showed their audience how wireless hacking was used to stop the break pad from working as a break while the tester was driving….

It seems today in a hurry to give the people what they are asking for in the cars that the engineers forgot to add security to stop hackers from doing anything the hackers want. From opening your car doors to starting the engine to even driving off in the distance without a key.

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A Hackers Dream – All Hack-able Cars

With plans on the Internet and a few cheap off the self parts it seems anybody can be a car hacker today (with no experience). Just recently a security black hat conference in the states
was reviled a competent hacker was able to use a very powerful low cost SoC (system on a chip) motherboard costing less than $40 us with a Bluetooth connection and his own programming skills was not only able to track down a any user of the OnStar system but was able to gain entry into the locked car with no force and open the trunk with starting the car. This is very scary and leads one to think why do I need the extra hair pulling stress, I’ll buy a used car and save money. Good try but too late, most of the hacks mentioned earlier do work on used cars. It seems the computers used on the used cars are just as security flawed as the new cars of today.

So you now ask what do I do now? Simple, check for all of the security updates for the car you want and make sure they are installed before driving in the car. OnStar has updated their security flaws (as of the time of this article), Telsa has also updated their software to fix the issues. I understand Chrysler has a security update patch available (from the web site). Microsoft is Microsoft and will always be updating their software (sorry ford and others using Sync). Other car manufactures are working to update the security issues as well.

Personally one would think they would secure any new or used features before sending it out in the open for consumers to purchase not knowing about the flaws (i.e. the brakes) that cost the consumer money (not covered by insurance company due to security flaw). I know already the next car I will be driving will be secure from any hacks and will remain secure as new hacks are found. The last thing I want is to tell somebody’s child why their parent isn’t coming home because the accident happened from a hacker who had nothing better to do at the time and just wanted to play.

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