Part 2: Travel into the future with connected cars

Major advances in technology are changing the face of the automotive industry. The effects will be felt in all sectors of the industry, from how cars are manufactured to what consumers look for in their vehicles. In this blog, we take a look at what connected cars mean for the future of transport.

In Part 2, we elaborate on the security issues of connected cars and what can be done to make them safer. Don’t forget to read Part 1 of our series where we looked at what connected cars are and some of the current conversations about them.

It disclosed an element of connected cars that many are concerned about: security. For this report, McKinsey surveyed car buyers in four major countries: Brazil, China, Germany and the United States. Their findings showed that 13% of people polled thought that internet access and connectivity were crucial in a new car. But respondents also worried about the digital security and data privacy of connected cars. Of the people polled, 37% said they wouldn’t consider a connected car for this reason. Is there cause for concern when it comes to the security of these vehicles?

According to IBM Security, connected cars are vulnerable to hacks, and since predictions indicate that 75% of cars shipped globally by 2020 will have internet connectivity, this could pose a huge problem. There are multiple points of vulnerability – from the infotainment system, which is usually the primary communications interface and hosts valuable and sensitive applications, the OBD2 port that’s used for a physical connection port located under the dashboard, to the mobile applications interface between the vehicle systems and the driver’s personal mobile device.

What are the main ways in which cars can get hacked and what can be done to prevent it?

IBM Security says one of the ways that security is breached in connected vehicles is when someone extracts the binary code from devices.

You can avoid this happening by ensuring that your software is constantly updated.

Another way that connected cars are hacked is when software is reverse-engineered. This is done with reverse-engineering tools like IDA Pro. Unfortunately, these tools are fast, cheap and easy to use.

To avoid this, you shouldn’t jailbreak your car or device (gain unauthorised access to the operating system) as this makes your car less secure and can void warranties.

Hackers can also tamper with the binary code (to get access to your digital information).

To ensure your safety, check outlets regularly and make sure you are confident of the security of what you plug in and what is plugged into the USB or OBD2 ports.

Finally, redeployed malicious software must be avoided.

Verify with manufacturers that mobile and pre-installed apps are hardened and also ensure that the third-party apps you download are secure.

If you outsource your fleet management with Avis Fleet, you will already be able to use our solutions to get benefits similar to the connected car features mentioned in Part 1. With our telematics solution, you will be able to monitor the location of the vehicles in your fleet. You can also use our other solutions to keep you on track with vehicle maintenance and fuel management and get support when you are involved in an accident.

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