The Frightening Possibilities of Car Hacking

Are vehicle infotainment systems vulnerable to hackers?

When news reporters or neighbors tell stories of being “hacked”, it generally conjures up visuals of cybercriminals stealing our identities and personal financial information from our home computers or from other large databases that contain our private personal information.

As if that isn’t scary enough, some Volkswagen and Audi vehicle owners and lessees—and maybe others—may have additional hackers to fear. And no auto recall yet to save them.

Reportedly, like in a good spy movie, so-called “ethical-hackers” or “friendly-hackers” were allegedly able to hack into the Harman infotainment systems of a 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI and a 2015 Audi A3 Sport back e-tron. The hack reportedly enabled the hackers to:

  • “track where the vehicles had been
  • remotely follow the vehicles
  • remotely listen to conversations in the vehicles
  • access the address book and conversation history”.

Fortunately, the hackers in these instances were “good guys” hired to locate and report back on security flaws.

While Volkswagen reportedly “updated the infotainment systems” to fix the flaws so they wouldn’t be in new vehicles, it reportedly did not appear to security researchers that already-existing cars containing the flawed systems were being automatically updated at their next service or repair appointment. The security updates for these older models reportedly cannot be done remotely. Since this Volkswagen defect has apparently not yet resulted in a recall of affected models, concerned owners may want to bring this matter to their local dealer’s attention.

According to the hackers and researchers, hackers may be able to control the microphones, navigation systems, and speakers, as well as the vehicles’ acceleration and braking systems.

Speaking of hacking into multiple vehicle control systems, Fiat Chrysler defects attorneys will remember the incident where “friendly hackers”—through a Harmon system—reportedly “took control of the Jeep Cherokee and sent it off the highway”, leading Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles.

While these hacking exercises were known to the automakers at the time they were carried out by hired security researchers, the implications for potentially catastrophic outcomes are evident if the systems were to be hacked by terrorists or other enemies.

If you have a question regarding an auto recall, breach of warranty, or lemon law claim the Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Depending on your particular problem you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments, and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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