Smart Vehicle Vulnerability

A hacker attempting to break in to the car using a smart vehicle vulnerability

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What you need to know

As cars become ‘smarter’ and technology evolves, they become increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. It can be overwhelming keeping up with the latest developments in car security and data privacy, especially when faced with the prospect of your vehicle becoming compromised or attacked.

Understanding your car’s inherent technology vulnerabilities is essential as cybercriminals continually target vulnerable vehicles for theft or malicious intent.

A hacker looking for a smart vehicle vulnerability to break into the car
Car security has come under significant scrutiny in recent years

By understanding the risks associated to modern cars and by taking steps towards preventing them now, you’re not only helping to protect yourself but also the safety of others on our roads. In this blog post, we explore smart vehicle vulnerability and its effects.

We also describe how you can stay safe within an ever-advancing connected world.

Keep your software updated

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, the introduction of smart vehicles has opened up a new era of convenience and efficiency on the road. However, it’s essential to be aware of smart vehicle software vulnerabilities and what you need to know to safeguard yourself and your car.

Today’s smart vehicles are equipped with internet connectivity, GPS systems and mobile applications that offer an array of benefits, but they can also become a target for hackers and cybercriminals.

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Most modern cars are now connected to the Internet

Constantly evolving technology means that potential vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited with every new update. To ensure the security of your smart vehicle it’s crucial to keep your software up-to-date and be vigilant about the risks associated with these advanced systems.

By staying informed and proactive, you can enjoy the incredible features of your smart vehicle while confidently driving towards a safer, more connected future.

Updating your car’s software typically involves connecting your car to a computer with internet access. This can be done through a USB cable, Bluetooth connection, or an OBD-II port. Once connected, you can download the latest software updates from the manufacturer’s website onto your computer.

You can install the updates directly onto your car by following the on-screen instructions. Be sure to double check that all of the necessary files are in place before completing the update process.

You may choose to speak with your car dealership or a suitable authorised 3rd party to receive regular updates. Ensure you fully understand the warranty of your car in relation to updates, if you do not feel competent then seek the advice of a professional.

Understanding the Risks of Connected Cars and Automated Vehicles

It is vital for us to understand the security risks associated with the ground breaking advancements in automobile technology. It’s important everyone understands the potential vulnerabilities of modern car systems connected to the internet and the potential for hackers to gain access to sensitive information or even take control of the vehicle.

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A laptop is all that is required to control some cars in 2023

Modern technologically advanced vehicles often tout increased safety and efficiency, however the complexities these vehicles face when navigating our roads create potential for malfunctions, leading to accidents or unexpected outcomes.

By educating ourselves on these risks, we can stay vigilant and well-informed as technology continues to reshape the world we live in, enabling us to make informed decisions and take appropriate precautions with regard to these exciting innovations in the automotive industry.

Exploring What Hackers Can Do with a Compromised Car

Imagine the possibilities of what a skilled hacker could do if they managed to compromise your car’s digital systems. With the increasing number of connected devices in modern vehicles, these concerns become more and more relevant. Hackers who break into these systems may be able to control critical functions, such as acceleration, braking, and even steering.

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Cars are considered computers these days and have the same vulnerabilities

Furthermore, they could access sensitive personal information, like your driving habits and the places you frequent. As much as we celebrate technological advancements in the automotive industry, it’s crucial to remember the importance of cybersecurity measures.

How to Protect Yourself Against Smart Vehicle Vulnerability

One of the most important ways to protect yourself against smart vehicle vulnerability is to regularly update your vehicle’s software, as manufacturers continuously work to patch any security loopholes.

A modern car is configured with millions of lines of computer code, which is stored in the brain of the car, often referred to as the electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU controls all aspects of the car from brakes, airbags, parking sensors and cameras. The ECU also communicates and analyses the road, using another computer known as the Controller Area Network (CAN). The CAN is linked to external nodes around the car.

Smart vehicles use these external nodes (sensors) to determine the condition of the environment around them. The nodes can also be used within a car’s radar system, light detection, GPS, visual sensors and boot latch sensors. They also allow the smart vehicle to avoid collisions and recognise pedestrians or obstacles. These sensors feed constant information into the car’s computers, so imagine if these sensors were compromised by a hacker, and maliciously controlled? This could cause considerable damage to the car and its occupant through a catastrophic accident.

Hackers are able to gain access to smart vehicles through Bluetooth, USB ports, navigation consoles, wireless and cellular signals. They can also access a smart car via a monitoring system (if poorly configured).

It’s also vital to only use trusted applications for your vehicle’s infotainment system and to maintain strong, unique passwords for all accounts associated with your car.

Read my article on how to create a secure password

You should also report any suspicious activities to your vehicle’s manufacturer as this not only helps you but also enables them to develop solutions that can be deployed for their entire customer base.

Common Signs of Smart Vehicle Vulnerability and Safety Tips

Whilst regularly updating your car’s software will reduce the risk of it being hacked, it’s essential you are aware of common signs of vulnerability in the modern technologically advanced smart vehicle.

Pay attention to unusual or unexpected system behaviours, such as unresponsive touchscreens, random shutdowns or peculiar error messages, as these may indicate potential breaches in the vehicle’s security. Additionally, keep an eye out for any suspicious performance changes, such as sudden acceleration, unexpected braking, or alterations to the default settings.

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Its important you understand you need to update your vehicles software as you would a laptop or smart phone

Strange behaviour, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, can indicate a more serious issue. By being vigilant and proactive, you can not only safeguard your smart vehicle but also guarantee a smooth and secure driving experience.

Checkout our informative article on ‘What a cyber attack means’

The Latest Advances in Automotive Security Technology

It is truly fascinating to see how far automotive security technology has evolved in recent years, ensuring that our vehicles are now safer and more secure than ever before. The emergence of innovative features such as keyless entry systems and biometric vehicle access has revolutionised modern cars and brought peace of mind to vehicle owners.

With the integration of state-of-the-art security systems and artificial intelligence, advanced theft prevention and the ability to minimise human error is becoming a reality. Furthermore, the growing trend of vehicle connectivity has given rise to enhanced remote control capabilities, allowing users to monitor their car’s location and status at any given time.

in addition to the evolution of vehicle security technology, the emergence of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) is perceived as a real game changer in drive safety. ADAS is a combination of vehicle safety systems and technologies that are designed to assist the driver in tasks such as braking, steering, lane changing and parking. ADAS uses sensors, cameras and GPS systems to monitor the environment around the vehicle and provide warnings or automated assistance when needed. Examples of ADAS include adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, lane keeping assistance, pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking.

These amazing advancements in automotive security technology not only make our day-to-day travelling experiences more convenient and enjoyable but also aim to create a driving culture prioritising safety above all else.

Check out our informative blog on the best motorhome SatNav

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Car technology is changing to meet the threat of cybercriminals

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, we are witnessing the rise of smart vehicles designed to make our lives more comfortable and convenient. However, with these technological advancements come potential security risks that need to be acknowledged and addressed. Smart Vehicle Vulnerability is a growing concern that every driver should be aware of.

These vulnerabilities stem from the complex systems and interconnected components in modern cars, making them susceptible to cyber attacks, unauthorised access, data breaches and more.

Addressing these risks involves recognising the importance of securing not only our personal data but also the safety of all road users. It is therefore important that drivers educate themselves on this subject, ensuring that they reap the benefits of advanced technology without compromising safety and privacy.

Automated vehicle systems come with the potential for system failures and human errors in their interactions with regular traffic. In-depth knowledge of such risks will enable you to make informed decisions when choosing a connected car or automated vehicle and ensure that you stay ahead of the curve while navigating this exciting automotive landscape.

Insecure Associated Apps for Smart Cars

If you own or plan to purchase a smart vehicle, then its important to be aware of the possible risks associated with insecure associated Apps for these technologically advanced vehicles.

With the rise in car connectivity, hackers are always on the lookout, trying to take advantage of these insecurities to exploit valuable information or even take control of your vehicle. By staying informed and vigilant, we can work together to ensure that our smart car experiences are not only enjoyable but also safe and secure.

Before you download an App, remember it has access to your vehicles internal computer systems that control every function. Insecure smartphone apps that connect to your car can potentially put you at risk of having your vehicle hacked. Such apps may be vulnerable to malicious actors who could gain access to the app and take control of various features in your car, such as unlocking doors, starting the engine, or disabling safety features.

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Unlocking car door by smart phone app

Additionally, insecure apps can leave vital data about your car open to exploitation, such as its location data, fuel level readings, and personal information about yourself or others who have access to your vehicle. To avoid these risks, it is important to only use secure smartphone apps that have been thoroughly tested for security vulnerabilities and regularly updated with the latest security updates.

Step 1: Read the app’s privacy policy and/or terms of service to determine how the app handles user data.

Step 2: Research any permissions requested by the app; if there are too many, it could be a red flag for security issues.

Step 3: Check reviews of the app to see what other users have experienced with the app. If multiple people report similar security concerns, investigate further.

Step 4: Look for two-factor authentication when logging into an account or making a purchase from within the app.

Step 5: Check to make sure that all communications sent through or stored by the app are encrypted.

Step 6: Make sure updates are regularly released for the app and that they include bug fixes and security patches.

Smart Car Security by Design

Smart car security by design plays a paramount role in ensuring the safety and protection of your vehicle as it embraces the latest technological advancements. Understanding the importance of keeping your car safe in this modern era of connected technology is critical. Smart car security integrates cutting-edge features with sophisticated software to identify and block potential threats effectively, thus giving you peace of mind.

Before you purchase a smart car, ensure it incorporates biometric authentication, encrypted communication channels, and constant software updates to safeguard your valuable asset from theft, hacking or unauthorised access. Ensure you are not a victim and avoid getting your smart car hacked.

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Research your chosen car thoroughly before you make a purchase. Ensure it actually incorporates smart car security by design. It is important you know your vehicle is well-protected from the countless threats present in our digital world.


After reading this blog post, you are now more aware of the security risks associated with smart vehicle technology. Connected cars and automated vehicles can be vulnerable to malicious hackers and it is important to stay updated on technology safety practices.

To protect yourself, your car, and your family from smart vehicle vulnerability, make sure you are aware of the risk indicators and take note of the safety tips provided in this article. Additionally, knowing the latest advancements in automotive security technology put you one step closer to staying on top of the constantly evolving cybersecurity environment.

Understanding smart vehicle security is about protecting yourself against potential cyber threats should always be your first priority; start by educating yourself on smart vehicle vulnerability and take the necessary steps to ensure a safe driving experience. Now go ahead and protect yourself!

You may find information on the Nation Cyber Security Centre website useful

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With over three decades of experience in the heart of London’s financial sector, I have dedicated my career to the pursuit of robust cybersecurity practices and IT leadership. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

My journey in the field of cybersecurity has not only been about personal growth but also about sharing my insights with others. As an international speaker, I have had the privilege of addressing audiences worldwide, discussing the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. My passion for knowledge sharing extends to my work as an author and blogger, where I delve into the complexities of cybersecurity, offering practical advice and thought leadership.

In my role as a CISO and Head of IT, I have overseen the development and implementation of comprehensive information security and IT strategies. My focus has always been on creating resilient systems capable of withstanding the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

My Master’s degree in Cybersecurity has provided a solid academic foundation, which, when combined with my practical experience, allows me to approach cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.

I am always open to connecting with other professionals in the field, sharing knowledge, and exploring new opportunities. Let’s secure the digital world together.