In 2010, a disgruntled car salesman from Texas hacked into his former employer’s web-based vehicle immobilization system in around 100 recently sold cars. Taking over the vehicle computer, he set the car horns to honk at all hours of the night and disabled the ignition systems, generating mass confusion and igniting customer anger at the dealership. Fortunately, the issue was addressed and the perpetrator caught before he could do more damage to the cars or customer-dealership relations. Stories like this show that even amateur hackers can access and control a vehicle, potentially putting drivers and passengers at risk. Protecting your collected digital data ensures customer privacy and prevents malicious takeovers of your company’s investments.
How To Fight Back
Data control is beneficial for protecting your company’s digital assets. By limiting access to your data collecting systems to only those that require it, you can reduce the exposure of the information and in doing so decrease the risk of hackers breaking into your system. Take the disgruntled Texan from before. His employee access was still briefly functioning after he was laid-off, so he was able to infiltrate vehicle systems and wreck havoc. Dispensing of employee access codes when changes are made could protect your business information from this type of unfortunate scenario.
In response to the debilitating threat of ‘spoofer systems’, three Stanford University researchers are working on a system to “truth-check” incoming GPS signals against signals from other GPS satellites controlled by other countries. This system, called Advanced Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (or, ARAIM), is meant to be widely accessible within the next few years. While some GPS users may believe that GPS tracking technology has reached its max usefulness for its level of security, the team working on ARAIM believes that with these new updates, modern fleets have more to gain than lose by using GPS. With GPS tracking technology progressing at such a rapid pace, innovators like these look towards the future to protect vehicles against new threats to the digital world.
Modern consumers should not have to choose between protection and connectivity when it comes to their products. By appropriately protecting your data and assets, your customers will not have to make this choice. With knowledge of hacking methods and up-to-date security practices, you can keep your business and customers safe in the era of the smart thief.