The FBI, together with the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has issued a public service announcement warning drivers that car hacking is a real and serious threat, which should be taken seriously.
"Modern motor vehicles often include new connected vehicle technologies that aim to provide benefits such as added safety features, improved fuel economy, and greater overall convenience," the PSA states. "Aftermarket devices are also providing consumers with new features to monitor the status of their vehicles. However, with this increased connectivity, it is important that consumers and manufacturers maintain awareness of potential cyber-security threats."
The PSA doesn’t appear to be based on any new known threats from hackers. Instead it’s meant to educate the public after a series of publicly known hacks of cars in 2015, including a Jeep intentionally hijacked by researchers while driving down the highway.
The FBI give four tips that consumers can follow to help minimize the risk of car hacking, including: ensuring your vehicle’s software is up to date, avoiding making unauthorized software modifications to your vehicle’s OS and apps, be discreet when choosing which third-party devices to connect to your vehicle, and be aware who has physical access to your vehicle.
The law enforcement agency also outlines four steps to take if you suspect your vehicle has been hacked. These include checking for vehicle recalls and software updates, contacting the dealer or manufacturer to check out the software issue that makes you think your vehicle may have been hacked, and contacting both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the FBI if you suspect your vehicle was hacked.
"While not all hacking incidents may result in a risk to safety—such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle—it is important that consumers take appropriate steps to minimize risk," the FBI said in the statement.