Can Your Car Be Hacked?

With the recent household device hacks in the news, CRITICALSTART’s VP of Professional Services, Sanjay Parikh, sat down with Brandon Butcher and Sarah Sager of WSAZ Studio 3 News to discuss the big question: can your car also be hacked?


BB:  Welcome back, y’all. Sure, your computer can be hacked. We’ve all seen that kind of threat, of course. Even your phone, but there’s some new tech out there. What about your car, doorbell, fridge? I mean, how crazy is these things?

SS:  Crazy! Ok, so I caught up with an expert who is breaking everything down for us.

SS:  Smartphones, smart homes, smart cars. Internet-connected and enabled devices are continuing to skyrocket in popularity, but are buyers of these new technologies considering the security threat posed by these purchases?

SS:  Vice President of Professional Services at CRITICALSTART, Sanjay Parikh, is joining us today in Studio 3. Good morning, Sanjay. How are you?

SP:  Good morning. I’m doing fine, thank you.

SS:  So first, I want to ask you, it seems unimaginable that a hacker could remotely control your car, but is it possible?

SP:  It is possible. The likelihood today is less possible right now. But the ability to access certain components of your car, such as, in 2016, in the Nissan Leaf, they were able to identify changes in the climate control and the ability to track your trip data. So knowing where you’re going and how you’ve been there. So, things like that. They did, in 2015, identify where they could control a Jeep, but these are not very likely because of the ability to purchase a car and the amount of cost it takes and the time to perform the hack.

SS:  But it’s still just as scary to think that someone can know where you’re going, track when you’re going there and how long you are staying there.

SP:  Absolutely and the same thing for your house, as well.

SS:  It is. Are there some cars that more vulnerable to this kind of hacking than other cars?

SP:  No, it’s pretty much across the board. It’s more about the IoT devices because there’s no security regulations or standards around these devices, hardware, or software. It’s just based upon the ability to try these different applications or hardware and seeing if somebody can exploit the vulnerabilities.

SS:  You mentioned earlier household appliances. We’ve all talked about smart homes. Are these also vulnerable to being hacked?

SP:  100%. We had the recent story around the ring camera where people were getting into the ring camera and spying on the people as they performed their daily functions. So the ability for consumers to change their default passwords and make it a little bit strong of a password or make sure that there is two-factor authentication, similar to when you receive a code on your phone and you put it in so that it’s not just a general user ID and a password, would make it a little stronger.

SS:  We’ve all heard about cellphone breaches. They’ve been very well-publicized. We’ve heard about doorbells like you were mentioning the ring camera, other household connected appliances, and items being compromised. One thing that sticks out to me is also baby monitors. We’ve seen videos where those have also been compromised, people talking to your children. At CRITICALSTART, is there something that you guys recommend beyond just changing the password to keep your house, even your car, safe?

SP:  Like I said with the configuration, so changing the default. Don’t just set it up and accept all the default settings. Make sure you set it up with a stronger password, multi-factor authentication that will change most of the time. And also, make sure that any of your devices that don’t need internet access, because basically everything that you are purchasing today, such as your fridge, potentially your stove, TVs, anything like that can get access. So only the items that you want to get access to the internet, those are the only ones that you want to enable.

SS:  Ok, any other tips for our viewers today, Sanjay?

SP:  No, just stay educated on these different devices, and usually they will provide updates in the news or on the internet, and then if you can update them with the different patches then that will help you try to stay ahead of the times.

SS: Ok, thank you for this enlightening information. We appreciate you being here today.

SP:  Thanks, Sarah.

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