Avoid a System Override: How to Keep Your Car Tech System from Getting Hacked

These days, it often seems that computers are used to control everything, and computer technology in cars is growing increasingly popular. Computers have even been used in cars for several decades. However, today’s car computers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, controlling critical systems like lights, brakes, transmission, engine control, gauges, windows and locks. Some even have Internet access, file storage and other features you’re used to seeing on your phone, tablet or laptop. In some vehicles, drivers can also connect their phones, laptops or other portable devices. It may sound like a technological marvel, but today’s cutting-edge cars have an ugly side. Take a look at the facts about car technology system dangers, and how to protect yourself and your information:


Many experts are worried that hackers may begin targeting these systems, potentially with serious consequences for drivers. In fact, concerned researchers have already been able to successfully commandeer these cars’ systems, doing everything from disabling the brakes to tightening the seat belts. What’s worse, automakers have been slow to react. While protective systems and devices are in the works, there is not yet a product or service available for public use that thoroughly addresses these vulnerabilities.

Taking Car Jacking to a New Level

It’s not difficult to imagine the problems this situation could cause. For instance, with a bit of education, unscrupulous individuals could hack into and disable a car’s locks, brakes and engine to car-jack the driver. In a similar scenario, car thieves could unlock and disable the alarm system of a parked vehicle remotely, then casually drive away with it. The financial implications of this are also serious. For now, these sophisticated systems are available mainly on high-end vehicles and represent a substantial loss.

Motorist safety is an even bigger concern. Someone with enough malicious intent could override a vehicle’s safety systems, like the brakes and airbag. The perpetrator would also be able to kill a moving vehicle’s engine, causing the driver to completely lose control of the car.

The Safety of Sensitive Information

While some hacking options are more extreme, another relevant concern is the ability to steal sensitive information by hacking into a car’s information or infotainment system. If people keep files, and other personal information, hackers could remotely hack into the car’s system to obtain information. While many are worried about hackers stealing or controlling the car altogether, it is important to remember that the information on these systems is growing increasingly sensitive and personal.

Protecting Your Own Car System

While many of these situations are hypothetical, many developers and researchers worry about car and passenger safety as technology advances. If you have an advanced car-tech system, it is important to protect yourself against potential dangers, and avoid a system override. Protect yourself from this emerging threat with a few of the following ideas:

  • Use a steering wheel lock to secure your parked car. Even if it’s been hacked, it can’t be driven.
  • Have a tracking device installed on your car. If it gets stolen, its location can be traced. Many cars will have a tracking device in the system, but if the system is compromised an unrelated tracking device on the car will reveal the location.
  • Always park in a safe and secure location, like a locked garage or a well-lit parking lot with 24-hour video surveillance, which tend to deter most criminals. Avoid parking along the street if possible.
  • Be sure any service is performed by a reputable repair garage. A dishonest one could hack your car to make it look like something’s wrong then charge you to "fix" it.

Much like the Internet, high-tech cars are convenient and useful, but they also come with risks. Although the automotive industry is beginning to address the digital safety of its vehicles, it’s currently still up to you to keep it protected. By utilizing these tips, you can help to keep yourself and your property safe.

The information for this article was provided by the professionals at Thomson Schindle Green Insurance and Financial Services, who specialize in exotic car insurance in Medicine Hat.

Carsurfer Admin

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