Hacking Prevention: First Your Computer, Now Your Car

Hacking is in the news a lot these days, and we are constantly being warned about how insecure we are online. But as more and more devices go online, it's not just computers that can get hacked. There are real fears now that as more devices are connected to the internet, even our cars could become hacked.

Driverless Cars: A Hacking Risk?

Driverless cars have been causing much excitement over recent years as technology improves. Google has already shown off a prototype, and it has been testing its models in the United States. This is a good thing because it will probably make driving safer, resulting in fewer accidents. However, if cars are connected to an internet network, there is a real risk that they could be hacked.

If cars become hacked, there are fears that criminals could find out exactly where drivers are at any given time, kidnap drivers and even take over cars and use them as weapons.

Even if driverless cars are some way off becoming commonplace on our roads, many modern cars already include features like anti-lock braking systems that are controlled by computers – and wherever computers are involved, hacking becomes a potential risk.

Should you be worried about this? Probably not. Such hacking would require a high level of skill, and it is not the same risk as someone hacking into your car over the internet because the criminals would have to get access to your car in the first place. As long as you look after your car properly – and you trust your mechanic – there is little to worry about.

Should We Be Worried About Hacking?

Although car hacking sounds alarming, the main problem at the moment is the same as it has always been: keeping your car – and car keys – safe from thieves.

Most modern cars now come with car key transponders, where keys have transponder chips built into them. These work by ensuring the car can only be started when the key that contains the chip is used, and this security feature makes it much more difficult to steal a car without the key.

Expert vehicle locksmiths like AutoLocks have the skills necessary to programme new keys, and this is may be required to help you get back into your car if you lose your keys. However, this is not a skill that the average car thief possesses.

Such technology provides increased protection for car owners. However, it should still be remembered that as soon as a criminal has your key, stealing your vehicle becomes a lot easier.

For Now, Keep Your Car and Keys Safe

Fears about car hacking make headlines, and perhaps in the future it will be a valid threat that we will have to take very seriously indeed. However, until cars go online, the age-old rules apply: lock your car and look after your keys.

The vast majority of cars are still stolen using the owners' keys, so keep your keys safe and follow basic security guidelines to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of car crime.


Taylor Douglas is an automotive mechanic of many years. When he's not under the hood, he's writing about ways to make car ownership easier. Look for his helpful posts on many automotive and security sites on the web. 
Image credits: flickr.com
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