Today’s cars are basically computers on wheels. A wide range of cellular, GPS, Bluetooth and other technologies connect automobiles with the Internet at all times. And when there’s a connection, there’s a risk. Let’s find out how this can affect you and what you can do about it.
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For newer cars, computerization is much more sophisticated than you might imagine. In a recent article and video released by The Washington Post, a programming expert was able to control a car from a distance. This control consisted of shutting off the engine, interfering with braking, controlling the radio, and even moving the steering wheel.
Before you panic, however, let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in the computer and automotive world.
The reality is that more and more of our possessions are connected to the Internet everyday. Even clothing is being designed to carry chips that can modify color, temperature, or breathability. Any of these points of contact can be a place where hackers could break into to cause problems.
The auto industry is not immune. Now while a massive attack is unlikely, individual security breaches are a potential reality today.
Added Potential For Breakdown
The advancing technology also applies another layer of potential breakdown. For example, in the past, car engines were purely mechanical devices. Once computers came into the picture, the added complexity increased the number of things that could possibly go wrong.
According to the Post article, the number of computers in cars has grown dramatically. For instance, the Ford Fusion had 15 on board computers in 2006. The 2014 model now carries 52 computers. While the systems are designed to detect and correct problems early, every computer has its limitations. Furthermore, all this high tech can potentially increase the cost to repair.
What Should You Do?
One of the best ways to defend yourself is to understand how cyber-risk applies to automobiles. According to the Post article, the way computer signals reach cars is through Bluetooth, radio data, cellular signal, and WiFi. Once a connection is established systems such as cruise control, collision prevention, and lane-keep assist can be affected.
Should you avoid cars with these features? That’s up to you. The reality is that these safety features are more likely to save you from harm than cause an accident. Remember, a seat belt can malfunction and keep you trapped in your car, but it is much more likely to save your life in the event of a crash.
If you still don’t feel safe, there are plenty of vehicles out there that don’t carry this type of technology. Used cars these days are safer and more reliable than ever, so you have many options to consider.
Make sure your vehicle is covered against unforeseen breakdown. Get a free extended auto warranty quote from CARCHEX now.