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Issue Date: Vol. 56, No. 4, April 2016, Posted On: 3/24/2016

FBI Issues Warning On Vehicle Hacking

Hank Schlesinger
TAGS: vehicle hacking, Federal Bureau of Investigation , Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3 vehicle hacking warning, fleet news, vending route

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation and its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) have issued a warning that late model vehicles are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Government researchers have uncovered vulnerabilities hackers can exploit to gain significant control over vehicles through wireless communications.

While these security openings have since been addressed by manufacturers, the FBI is urging consumers and manufacturers to be on the lookout for possible future threats that would allow a hacker to remotely exploit vehicle vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities would also be present in vehicles that operators typically use on vending and amusement routes.

Modern motor vehicles often include connectivity technologies intended to provide added safety features, improved fuel economy and greater overall convenience. Aftermarket devices that plug into a vehicle are also providing consumers with new features to monitor the status and driving history of their vehicles. Along with these new technologies and connectivity, however, come the potential for cyber security threats. These include unauthorized retrieval of driver data and even assuming control of the vehicle's systems.

Among the safety steps the FBI is suggesting are:

» Check on the vehicle manufacturer's website to identify whether any software updates have been issued by the manufacturer.

» Avoid downloading software from third-party websites or file-sharing platforms.

» Always use a trusted USB or SD card storage device to download and install software to a vehicle.

» Regularly check with the dealer or manufacturer about performing vehicle software updates.

The FBI is also cautioning vehicle owners to be careful when making any modifications to software, and to maintain awareness and exercise discretion when connecting third-party devices like smartphones and insurance dongles. Additionally, one needs to be aware of who has physical access to a vehicle.

For additional information and what to do if you suspect your vehicle has been hacked, visit ic3.gov/media/2016/160317.

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