5 Simple Ways To Protect Your Car From Hackers

Gone are the days of smashing the window of a car to break into it. In today’s world, a laptop and a signal device are all that hackers need to drive away with your vehicle.

While technology has improved the driving experience, it has also simplified car theft and introduced new digital vulnerabilities. Just in the first three months of 2023, a total of 5 119 cars were hijacked in South Africa.

This article will delve into easy methods you can take to protect your car from hackers.

Let’s get straight to it.

In this article, you will:

  • Learn 5 ways to safeguard your car against hackers and prevent theft
  • Gain insights into the common methods hackers use to steal your car
  • Discover which vehicles are more prone to being hacked
  • Understand how Cartrack’s technology enhances fleet and vehicle safety

Vehicle Safety in the Digital Age

In our tech-driven world, cars have become more than just a way to get from one point to another. They’ve evolved into sophisticated machines, bringing convenience and connectivity to our fingertips. Yet, as we embrace this digital revolution on wheels, it’s crucial to recognise that our vehicles are now vulnerable to a new kind of threat — car hackers.

5 Easy Tips To Prevent Being Hacked

Cars today are more than just engines on wheels; they are equipped with an array of technology and features like remote park assist, wireless connectivity and proximity parking alerts that all rely on software, Bluetooth, and data connectivity. These tech-savvy motors have even become motorists’ biggest assets!

To ensure your prized possession remains safe and sound, whether on the road or wherever it’s parked, here are five effective strategies to shield your car from cyber threats:

  1. Strengthen Your Digital Defences:

    Just as you secure your computer or smartphone, your car’s onboard systems need protection too. Ensure that your car’s software is up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. Manufacturers often release software patches to address vulnerabilities and protect vehicles against potential hacking threats.
  2. Hack-Proof Your Key Fob:

    Your key fob is the gateway to your vehicle’s systems. To prevent fob attacks, store your key fob in a Faraday pouch, or even in aluminium foil, to block its signal and keep hackers at bay. If applicable, some brands allow you to turn off your key fob’s wireless signal.
  3. Secure Wireless Communication:

    Many modern cars have features like Bluetooth connectivity and remote access that rely on wireless communication. Secure these wireless communication channels using strong, unique passwords and enabling encryption to prevent hackers from intercepting signals and gaining unauthorised access.
  4. Be Cautious with Third-Party Devices:

    When adding aftermarket devices or accessories to your car, ensure they’re from reputable sources and have been thoroughly vetted for cybersecurity. Some devices might introduce vulnerabilities if they’re not properly secured.
  5. Manage Remote Access Wisely:

    If your car offers remote access features, like starting the engine or unlocking doors through a smartphone app, disable these functions when you’re not using them. This minimises the window of opportunity for hackers to exploit potential vulnerabilities in the remote access system.

How Cybercriminals Hack Your Car

These days, almost every car you see on the road is equipped with remote keyless entry (RKE) systems. These cutting-edge setups grant drivers the convenience of unlocking, locking, and even starting their cars without the need to physically press the key itself. The only requirement? The key remote, also known as the key fob, needs to be close by.

Hackers have mastered the art of stealing a car in a matter of minutes. From the moment you lock your car and walk away, criminals have already started the process of riding off with your wheels.

Let’s dive into their playbook and witness their moves:

  • CAN bus intrusion: Armed with a smart device, hackers slip into a car’s inner workings through entry points like headlights or wires. Blink, and you might miss it. Once inside, they’ve got the power to unlock the car and bring the engine to life.
  • Signal jamming technology: This involves interference with radio frequency signals, such as those used in keyless entry systems. By jamming the key fob signal, attackers can prevent the vehicle from receiving the legitimate unlock command, making it more vulnerable to theft.
  • Relay attack: This typically involves two attackers working together using relay devices, with one attacker standing near the targeted vehicle, while the other stands near the owner’s key fob. The criminals intercept the signal between a key fob and the car and pass on or transfer messages through the signal to unlock and start the car, even if the key fob is not physically present.
  • Replay attack: Either than the relay attack, this one simply needs the thieves to capture legitimate data transmission from the key fob when you lock or unlock your car and play the signals back later to trick the car into believing the keys are close by and simply unlock.

Which Vehicle Can Be Hacked?

The simple answer to this question is – all of them. Unfortunately, any car with a computer system or connected to the internet is vulnerable to getting hacked. However, some cars are more prone to being hacked and hijacked than others. In no order, here are some examples of cars that have been identified as being more prone to being hijacked in South Africa:

  • Toyota (including the Hilux, Fortuner, and Rav 4)
  • Volkswagen (including the Polo and Golf)
  • Ford (including the Ranger and F-150)
  • Nissan NP200

It’s important to note that these are just examples, and any vehicle, whether used for personal or business purposes, can be vulnerable to hacking and theft. It’s recommended to take precautions to protect your vehicle, such as using advanced vehicle technology provided by Cartrack.

How Cartrack’s Advanced All-in-One App Can Help

Whether you’re behind the wheel of a brand-new automobile or one that’s been your trusted companion for years, equipping your vehicle with Cartrack’s cutting-edge tracking unit can mean the difference between spending money and starting over in the event of theft or swiftly reclaiming your prized possession with Cartrack’s remarkable stolen vehicle recovery and other services.

Cartrack offers several services and features that can help protect your car from getting hacked and stolen.

Here are some of the ways:

  1. Real-time vehicle tracking: With Cartrack’s GPS vehicle tracking system, you can keep a close watch on your car’s whereabouts in real-time. In case of theft, this feature enables you to pinpoint the exact location of your vehicle, assisting law enforcement in swift recovery efforts.
  2. SVR (stolen vehicle recovery): Customers receive immediate assistance if their vehicle gets stolen. After it’s stolen and you inform Cartrack of the event, Cartrack’s on-the-ground and air recovery teams will be dispatched and immediately start searching for your vehicle. Our SVR rate of over 90% is trusted by over 1.7 million customers.
  3. CarWatch: This is an early warning system like a virtual car guard that activates at the touch of a button and notifies Cartrack in advance if your vehicle is moved or tampered with without your knowledge. This allows Cartrack to proactively send a recovery team to increase the chances of recovery.

Cybersecurity Tips for Fleets

Businesses relying on vehicle fleets are navigating a new realm of opportunities, but they are also not safe from hackers. The connectivity and efficiency brought by fleet management systems have undoubtedly streamlined operations, but they have also introduced the same vulnerabilities to commercial vehicles.

Cartrack fleet management software offers several features that can help protect against cyber threats:

  • Compliance monitoring: Cartrack’s fleet management software offers compliance monitoring that instantly alerts admins of any compliance or business risks in real-time. This can help prevent unauthorised machinery or vehicle usage and ensure that your fleet is operating per regulations and best practices.
  • Fleet visibility: Cartrack’s fleet management software provides full visibility of your vehicles, drivers, and cargo, so managers can actively identify any potential security threats.
  • Live monitoring and alerts: Cartrack offers live GPS positioning, geofence monitoring of no-go and operational zones with vehicle entry, and exit alerts, and live task monitoring. All of these assist in fleet monitoring in real-time for potential security threats.
  • Stolen vehicle recovery (SVR): Cartrack tracking units provide 24-hour security, vehicle tracking, and stolen vehicle recovery services. This can help you locate and recover stolen vehicles, minimise the impact of car theft incidents and avoid costly vehicle replacements.

By using Cartrack’s fleet management software and taking advantage of its features, you can help protect your fleet against cyber threats and improve overall cybersecurity awareness.

Elevate Vehicle Safety with Cartrack’s Expertise

Level up the security of your entire fleet or personal vehicle with Cartrack’s advanced vehicle tracking device. Our impressive recovery rate exceeding 90% and reliable solution puts you in full control of your vehicles, increases their visibility, and bolsters the safety of your valuable assets through top-notch security features.

Give your vehicles protection you can trust. Discover the peace of mind that comes with our cutting-edge technology. Explore Cartrack Swaziland now.