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5 Tips For Hack-Proofing Your Car

Your new car is a technological marvel—it can do everything from read your social media feed aloud to parallel park itself. But all that wondrous tech also makes your vehicle vulnerable to a new threat: hacking. As difficult a feat as it is, hackers have demonstrated that they can achieve wireless control of certain vehicles’ steering, brakes and transmission. We’re still in the “infancy stages” of this problem, says Tyler Moffitt, senior threat research analyst at Internet security firm Webroot. But you can expect to hear about a lot more cases in years to come. For now, start using these five strategies to keep hackers from gaining access to your car.

1. Keep In Touch With The Manufacturer

“This is the most important thing you can do,” says personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano. Make sure the manufacturer has your most up-to-date contact information and can reach you about necessary updates or applicable tech-related recalls. And periodically check SaferCar.gov to see if your vehicle has any active recalls.

2. Update Your Car’s Software

If the manufacturer tells you that your car’s firmware (the embedded software) needs updating, bring your car to the dealer ASAP. You’ll want the latest software to correct bugs that may make your car vulnerable.  Or, if you’re more of a DIY person, download updates from the manufacturer—and only the manufacturer (make sure by going to their official site), then use a USB drive to install them in your car.

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3. Firewall Your Fob

If your keyless-entry fob is near your car, say on your dining room table, sophisticated burglars can use electronic signal-amplifier devices from 100 feet away to unlock your car while it’s parked in the driveway—and maybe even drive off with it. To prevent this sort of attack, cut off the signal from the fob by storing it in a metal box or carrying it in an inexpensive holder that’s specially designed to thwart hackers. Or try a low-tech solution: Lock the car in your garage, if you have one.

4. Turn Off Bluetooth When You’re Not Using It

“If you’re not using Bluetooth connectivity with your cell phone in the car, turn the feature off on your device and the car,” advises Webroot’s Moffitt. Otherwise, Bluetooth is susceptible to data attacks, which can cause a device to crash or expose security holes. “Hackers could get in that way,” Moffitt adds.

5. Hide Your WiFi Password

If your car has a WiFi hotspot service, allowing you to remotely lock and unlock doors and start the engine, don’t keep your password in the car. “You’d be surprised how many people just leave it in the glove box,” Moffitt says. (Learn how to create the perfect password.)

Just the idea of high-tech hackers, bad weather and car breakdowns can be stressful. Feel protected behind the wheel with car insurance from GEICO. Get a fast, free quote today. Already insured? Protecting your identity should be next on your list.

By Mark Yarm

Read more: 5 ways to prevent car theft

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    Leave a comment

  1. Ellen D says,

    This is one of the very best information relating to this topic. It’s already happening now. This is big business and once hacked, everyone chases you around town trying to get into an accident. I wish more insurance companies would put some information and help out how to deal with this once its happened to you. People from those who live in the streets to a person driving a Jaguar will be driving around with you to get into an accident. Now in 2021 there is an app one can download and get into an accident. Lakewood WA is filled with all levels of people trying to get the accident. This is something else in this city. Even the Tacoma Fire department is helping get the better signal for the people who do the hacking.

  2. Izzy Rohland says,

    Houston , TX. 2011 GMC SIERRA. Fully hacked while I was driving, they started changing the radio stations then unlocking my doors and started the breaks then turned my power steering off

  3. Essie Goodson says,

    This was very helpful for us because someone has stolen all four wheels off our car in March of this year. We had the alarm system on, but it did not sound off.

  4. Steve Nolden says,

    A neighbor of mine parked under a street light and they broke into his car. Left the rest of the cars on the block alone.

  5. Monty Gee says,

    Yes Yes Thanks for All that Great information about car theft, an all that other Great information. Thanks Soo Much, an Yes I too have Geico Auto ins. For my Car.

  6. Ryan Judy says,

    If you keep your keys in a keyfob faraday bag the signal will be blocked. Mission Darkness has one that works VERY well for less than $20, best insurance you can buy for electronic hacks.

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