Guest Author: Whitney Burch
New vehicles come with a variety of nifty features to keep us engaged and in touch while we’re on the road. From playlists to turn-by-turn navigation, intelligent functions definitely make modern life easier. However, these same high-tech perks can also pose a unique threat to personal information.
78 million vehicles on the road currently sync to the internet. Considering that in just three years, 98% of new cars in Europe and the U.S. are expected to have online connectivity, the risk for cybersecurity attacks should only increase.
The following in-vehicle technology features are particularly prone to hacks: USB device ports, Wi-Fi internet routers, HD Radio, Bluetooth modules, built-in internet modems, near-field communication devices, and onboard diagnostics. In short, pretty much any way you tap into online functions while you’re driving, whether that’s using your vehicle’s infotainment system or simply powering up your phone via your car’s charging port.
Here are four strategies to help protect your personal data each time you use in-vehicle apps and features.
1) DELETE YOUR PERSONAL DATA BEFORE TURNING IN YOUR RENTAL CAR.
We get it—you’re on vacation. It can be way to easy to simply tap into a rental car’s cool features and your usual playlists, then forget to delete your personal data before returning your car to the rental company.
But this step is crucial in order to protect personal data such as your device’s name, your app logins, your call log and messages (if you use hands-free calling), and address book.
2) DO AN APP AUDIT TO CLOSE OUT ANY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS YOU’RE NOT USING.
Set aside time every few months to scan through which in-vehicle apps you use. It’s so easy to accumulate apps that you’re not even using anymore. If you find one that you’re not using, not only delete the app, but also delete any account that is associated with the app. For example, if you have a Lyft app, make sure you uninstall the app and also personally contact the company either by phone or email to cancel your account with them.
3) BEFORE YOU SELL YOUR CAR, MAKE SURE TO DISCONNECT FROM ONLINE SERVICES.
Certain vehicles include technology that stores your login data indefinitely, until you delete it. For example, some Mercedes-Benz vehicles use Mercedes-Benz Online service.
Protect yourself by clearing all of your login data from the connectivity services you use with your car. That way, the next owner won’t have access to your Facebook account and other online profiles that house private information.
4) RESET YOUR CAR’S GARAGE DOOR OPENER BEFORE SELLING YOUR CAR.
Many vehicles today come equipped with HomeLink technology, or a similar integrated remote feature that pairs with your car’s garage door opener to enable easy access to your garage. So, anyone that gets a hold of your car’s remote, also has easy access to your house.
Avoid this data breach by resetting your vehicle’s garage door opener before you sell your car to a new owner. If you’re not sure about how to reset it, check out your vehicle’s instruction manual or search YouTube for a tutorial.
For even more ways to defend your personal security, whether you’re driving or going about your day, check out Silent Pocket’s lineup of protective products.
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