Your New Car May Connect You to Greater Cyber-Risk
NEWS ANALYSIS: There's no question that having your car connected to a world of data is convenient and sometimes lifesaving, but with those benefits comes increased security risk.I sat in front of the fire in my fireplace, and opened the heavy leather parcel I'd removed from my car. I'd purchased the car only the day before, and while I knew there were some technology improvements over the vehicle I'd gotten rid of, I wasn't quite prepared for just how much things have changed in only a few years. Inside the package was a series of manuals, one of which was an inch thick and devoted to something Mercedes Benz calls COMAND—yes, that's how it's spelled. I leafed through the pages and found myself reading about real-time weather maps, complete with satellite and radar imagery. I could read current restaurant reviews from Yelp. And if I called the right number, I could have the company unlock my car or even send help if I crashed. These are some powerful new capabilities that I hadn't realized existed, at least to the level they'd obviously reached. Then I thought about my wife's car, also of German design and recalled that it had similar capabilities, and in her case, they even included the ability to remotely program the navigation.
But these capabilities weren't unique to German cars, or even cars from Europe. As recent news reports have revealed, cars of American, Japanese and Italian design have similar connectivity features and they bring similar cyber-security risks—some have significant exposures beyond what we normally hear about.