We expose the most used car theft security hacks and how you can do your best to avoid them
Newer cars have more built in computing power than ever. Engine management systems, autonomous brakes, satellite location units, locks, airbags, digital displays, in-car entertainment systems, in-car wi-fi and more.
But is all this technology effectively a Trojan horse that could open drivers up to the risk of car hacking and an increased chance of car theft?
We’ve teamed up with MoneySuperMarket to expose the seven most common digital vulnerabilities drivers currently face, from gaining access to a vehicle via hacking the keyless entry to stealing driver location data.
5 major car security hacks and how best to avoid them:
1. RELAY HACK KEYLESS ENTRY
Normally, your remote car key signal won’t reach from inside your house to a car outside. But by using a ’relay box‘, criminals are able to boost the signal from your keys when they’re away from the vehicle and spoof the exact signal – causing your car to unlock and allowing the thief access.
Over a quarter (28 per cent) of drivers were familiar with this type of crime, more than any of the other six major car hacks.
How to stay safe: See if you can disable your key signal while you’re parked. Keep your key away from the front door or consider keeping it in a Anti RFID Theft Wallet.
2. KEYLESS JAMMING
Criminals can also use tools to prevent your car key’s locking signal from reaching your car. This means that your car remains unlocked when you move away from it, and the thieves are able to access your unsecure vehicle.
Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of drivers that were asked were familiar with this type of digital vulnerability.
How to stay safe: Check your door manually. Use a steering lock. Never leave valuables in the car. Avoid loading bought items into your vehicle in a retail car park and then returning to the store or another outlet.
3. APP FLAW LOCAL REMOTE CONTROL
Certain telematics companies provide vehicle security and tracking for a number of vehicles. While you might not directly use the features from these apps, many cars may possess them without your knowledge as many vehicle tracking apps integrate with their technology.
A misconfigured or deliberately altered server allows hackers to locate, unlock and even potentially start the engine of nearby cars.
How to stay safe: Consult with your car manufacturer for guidance and support.
4. CONTROLLER AREA NETWORK (CAN) DISABLED SAFTEY FEATURES
Using vulnerabilities in a car’s wi-fi or phone connections, hackers can access the internal car network and send ‘denial of service’ signals which can shut down air bags, anti-lock brakes, and even door locks.
Despite the potentially significant outcomes of this, only 13 per cent of drivers asked were aware of this flaw.
How to stay safe: Ask the vehicle manufacturer for advice. Change your passwords regularly.
5. ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS HACK
Cars possess a feature called an “on-board diagnostic port” that allows garages to access the internal data of a vehicle to perform tasks such as checking service light faults and programing new keys for their owners.
However, kits which can use this port to program new keys can cost as little as £50, and hackers can use these to create new keys to access vehicles.
How to stay safe: Always use a trusted, reputable garage and double-up on security with a steering lock or other physical device. Also look at other car security products.