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Car Hacking: Prevention & Security

Car Hacking Reality
Car Hacking

Hacking happens to more and more people, but car hacking?

Major government agencies, large retailers, banks, and others acknowledge hacking incidents.

Now experts warn that cars provide a target for hackers. If you have any doubt, we covered the fact that car hacking is possible in a previous blog article.  With more and more electronics built into motor vehicles, they can be hacked.  While driving.

That begs two questions: How does car hacking happen and can car hacking be avoided?

Major Consumer Data Hacking Attacks

Hacking is so common that Money magazine claims that at this point it is more likely than not that some of your personal information has been compromised. Money’s editors contend that there are only two types of people: those who know their personal identity information has been hacked, and those who don’t know it yet.

Major retailers who have had customer information hacked include Marshalls, Staples, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, Sally Beauty Supply and Dairy Queen. Worse, major health insurer Anthem Blue Cross acknowledged that personal data of an estimated 80 million customers  was hacked.  Hackers even compromised the IRS and the Post Office.

The hacking of movie production giant Sony by North Korea reads like a spy novel.

Car Hacking

Despite common hacking attacks dating back years, hackers continue to find new targets. Using diagnostics ports and entertainment system wireless connections, hackers have compromised motor vehicle components including steering and auto speed controls on a moving car.  The possibility is so real that both the FBI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have actually published guidelines on prevention of auto hacking:

“Vehicle hacking occurs when someone with a computer seeks to gain unauthorized access to vehicle systems for the purposes of retrieving driver data or manipulating vehicle functionality.”

March 17, 2016 joint statement by FBI & NHTSA

The two federal agencies believe not all hacking incidents necessarily result in a safety risk, such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle, but that it is important for consumers to take steps to minimize the risk. Those steps include making sure vehicle software is up to date, verifying vehicle recall notices and checking vehicle manufacturers’ websites to determine if software updates have been issued.

Other recommendations include using caution if and when modifying vehicle software. Also important is exercising discretion when using any third party devices in a car.  Finally, it is important to be careful about anyone who has physical access to a vehicle.

Distracted Driving, Hackers & Keeping it Real

As if there weren’t already enough dangers on the highway. Distracted driving, drunk driving and general  everyday hazards  such as construction zones  challenge drivers on a regular basis.  And these are only some of the many highway dangers that cause accidents.

The present risk of car hacking may be relatively low. If so, why have two top agencies of the federal government joined forces to raise awareness of car hacking?  The vulnerability exists.  The question remains: who will exploit the technology and to what degree?


The Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, located in Derry, NH and North Andover, MA handle personal injury cases, car accidents, construction accidents, workers compensation, motorcycle accidents, serious slip and fall injuries, wrongful death and other injury cases.

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Attorney Myers is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers, and New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. The Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers offer a broad range of legal services in personal injury cases in Massachusetts (MA) and New Hampshire (NH) areas.

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