5 Ways Your Car Can Get Hacked

Cybersecurity: 5 Ways Your Car Can Get Hacked
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Through the OBD-II Port

A car’s on-board diagnostics, or OBD-II port, is like a front door to your car’s central nervous system. It connects to the car’s controller area network bus (CAN bus). The more advanced your car is, the more of its systems are likely to be connected to the CAN bus.

By attaching a laptop computer or other mobile device to the ODB-II port, someone can potentially take control of anything attached to the bus, especially if those systems are not protected against intrusion. That can include steering, braking, engine and fuel management, infotainment, advanced safety, driver assistance systems, and even the door locks. Modern cars have dozens of electronic control units, or ECUs. For complete security, each has to be hardened against an attack on the entire system.

What makes this type of exploit difficult is that the person attacking the system has to have access to your OBD-II port, which is normally located under the dash on the driver’s side of the car, and have specific software to attack the specific make, year, and model of your car. There’s no other reason to take control of a car that they’re already in, unless the goal is to just steal the car.

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