How to protect your car's IT system from cyberthreats

April 29, 2022

The technological devices of the cars are also in the crosshairs of cybercriminals. It is important to carry out a series of actions to avoid cyber attacks.

Devices that use wireless communications always present a challenge in terms of cybersecurity, and hackers take advantage of this.

These devices also include modern vehicles that have integrated on-board computers with internet connection. Vehicle wireless connections can be manipulated by cybercriminals for their benefit.

"According to data relating to the first quarter of 2019 collected by the DGT, the most attacked system in vehicles is keyless or "keyless" access, which registers 47% of attacks. It is followed by attacks on servers with 17% of attacks, 6% of mobile applications and with 4% of attacks on motor control units, another 4% on infotainment systems and another 4% on the communication port between units. control and another 4% to information systems. 2% of attacks on bluetooth communications." - Cybersecurity News (2022)

For that reason, it is important to carry out a series of recommendations to try to protect the vehicle from cyber threats or attacks on integrated technological systems:

Keep an eye on the keys and protect them

As we have seen, one of the most common attacks is through keys. It is important to monitor them and use the key manually in places that are not safe, since copying the signal from the controls is very simple. Regarding this, you should know that they sell special bags that ask to access the command signal so that no one duplicates it.

Keep the software updated

Many of the attacks are caused by vulnerabilities in application software. It is best to update it whenever possible, because in many cases these updates will solve certain security gaps that previous versions may have.

Be aware of technological tools

All owners of vehicles with technological tools included must be aware that they are exposed to the fact that the on-board computer can be manipulated. There are no immune vehicles, so it is necessary to stabilize alert.

Check USB devices

USB devices that connect to the car are one of the most common elements by which viruses or malware are introduced into vehicle systems. The ideal is to pass an antivirus to those USB devices before connecting them.

Turn off unused devices

The longer you are connected to the network, the more likely any system is to suffer a cyber attack. It is best to disconnect wireless connections such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth whenever they are not in use. Likewise, if you travel with strangers, you should control who offers the Wi-Fi connections in your car.

Do not download unknown applications

There are a lot of applications that offer a lot of utilities that may interest us for navigation or other services. It is necessary to monitor the origin of these applications because they can include malware to gain control of the car.

Be careful what you connect to OBD2

The OBD2 is a communication port that allows many electronic devices to be detected and programmed. It is important to know where the OBD2 is and what is connected to it. There are companies that offer devices to connect to the OBD2 to know, for example, driving habits. You have to be careful that you connect to this port because it can be used by cybercriminals.

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  • Dominguez, M.L. (2022). Recomendaciones para evitar ciberataques en vehículos. Retrieved April 26th, 2022, from:

Authored by

Jorge Daniel Tejeda