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What is Driving the Rise in Automotive Hacking?


One of the main factors driving the rise in automotive hacking is the increasing connectivity of vehicles. As cars become more connected to the internet and other devices, they become more vulnerable to attack. This article looks at some of the most common automotive hacking methods and explores ways to prevent them.

What is Automotive Hacking?

Automotive hacking refers to the practice of manipulating vehicles using technology. Automotive hackers access data and systems to either control the vehicle or steal information and blackmail manufacturers.

Automotive Hacking Tools and Techniques

There are a few different ways that automotive hackers can gain access to vehicles:

1. Physically manipulating hardware: This involves physically altering the car’s components to bypass security measures. For example, a hacker could replace the car’s ECU (Electronic Control Unit) with their own device that allows them control over the car’s systems.

2. Exploiting software vulnerabilities: Hackers can find and exploit vulnerabilities in a car’s software to gain access to its systems. Once they have access, they can perform a range of actions, from controlling the car remotely to stealing data.

3. Manipulating the communication systems: Automotive hacking can also involve manipulating the communication systems that cars use to connect to the internet and exchange data with other devices. By intercepting and manipulating these communications, hackers can gain access to a car’s systems and data.


One of the most popular hacking tools is the car key fob. Malicious actors spoof or clone the signal used by a car to communicate with the key. Once they find the right frequency, they use a cloned fob to open the vehicle. Other vehicle hacking tools include laptop jacking devices and wireless hacking tools.

One of the most popular automotive hacking techniques is “carjacking via Wi-Fi”. This involves using a Wi-Fi hotspot close to a target vehicle. By doing this, attackers can steal sensitive data such as passwords and driver's information.

Another popular automotive hacking technique is "carjacking via Bluetooth." This involves using Bluetooth to connect to a target vehicle's systems to steal sensitive data.

Hackers use the stolen information to create compelling phishing emails and steal more information about the victim. Alternatively, hackers hold the stolen information for ransom. 

Does this potential pitfall weaken the case for connected vehicles? No. Connected vehicles open a world of convenience and may be the key to reducing accidents. The solution, then, is to eliminate the security concerns by redesigning data security.

Preventing cyberattacks on automobiles

The advent of connected cars offers hackers an additional attack surface. The recent increase in automotive hacking poses some serious questions to manufacturers. According to Upstream, almost all manufacturers are vulnerable to automotive hacking. For instance, Toyota suffered a data breach in February, exposing the personal information of 3.1 million customers.

Hackers may easily manipulate, maneuver, change gears, steal the car or acquire the owner's journey data. However, there are ways to strengthen automotive security.

Here are a few preventative measures to help prevent cyberattacks on automobiles:

  • Make sure your vehicle's software is up to date: Hackers can exploit the vulnerabilities in outdated software to steal your personal information or take over your vehicle. Updating your vehicle's software can make it more secure. You may also automate the update process so that the car’s computer installs the updates as soon as the manufacturer releases them. 

  • Use a VPN to protect your privacy: VPNs are an effective method of protecting connected automobiles. VPN shields your car's engine and electronic components against outside malware threats. A robust VPN enables users to access the internet safely.

  • Keep wireless technologies to a minimum: Tracking your vehicle remotely with wireless technologies may open your system to hackers. In most cases, wireless and remote systems operate online, which makes them particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks.

  • Disable GPS: In self-driving vehicles, GPS systems are a weak point that hackers exploit. Radio transmissions can easily be used to spoof GPS systems. Therefore, drivers should use their GPS units judiciously.

  • Always ensure safety: The primary concern of car manufacturers should be the vehicle's security. Proper safeguards against hacking attempts must be envisioned and incorporated. If your vehicle's infrastructure has security flaws, consult with specialists and use vulnerability assessment services to fix them.

  • Management of vulnerability assessments: This procedure entails finding, assessing, treating, and reporting security flaws. This is best utilized in conjunction with other vehicle security measures.


The more connected vehicles become, the more vulnerable they become to attacks. The importance of connected cars and their benefits cannot be overstated. As cars become more sophisticated, manufacturers must invest more in security prioritization, vulnerability assessment, and management. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for automotive cybersecurity, so the most common hacking methods should be analyzed and tackled.  

A simple 2FA can go a long way in adding a layer of security to the car's security system, making it hard for hackers to use standard techniques. Encrypting key fob frequencies and securing logins over mobile apps and servers can help prevent attacks. As the world of connected automotive evolves, manufacturers must balance convenience with security to keep the industry ticking.

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