The growth of vehicle-to-vehicle networks that connect vehicle movement and data has been immense over the past few years, and this trend is expected to continue. According to Statista, vehicle-to-vehicle networks are expected to quadruple by 2021.
But with the rise of vehicle networks comes a rise in cybersecurity threats to auto repair shops. As you and your team make repairs to these high-tech vehicles, you could be at greater risk of a cyberattack. And if this cyberattack causes an accident to your clients, you could be held liable for it.
Through vehicle cyberattacks, hackers can gain a considerable amount of your customers’ personal information and even take complete control over their vehicles. In 2015, security researchers successfully hacked into the entertainment center, steering, brakes, and transmission of a Jeep Cherokee through the Internet, spurring the recall of 1.4 million vehicles.
New, high-tech vehicles give hackers plenty of ways to infiltrate their systems, including through:
Over-the-air software updates
Near-field communication devices (e.g., devices that allow for the unlocking or starting of a vehicle remotely)
On-board diagnostic (OBD) ports
You may use OBD connectors every day to service your customers’ vehicles. However, doing repairs via these connectors gives hackers the opportunity to infect the down vehicle with malware that can even be transferred from vehicle to vehicle.
The threat of vehicle hacking makes it imperative for your auto shop to have a secure cyber network. Here are some steps you can take to increase your cybersecurity:
Protect your systems. Keep the Wi-Fi your customers use separate from your employees’ and, if possible, set the employee Wi-Fi so employees do not know the password. Use firewalls and antivirus software. Use passwords to access your systems. Update all passwords regularly (every 30-90 days), and require your employees to update their passwords as well. Limit access so employees have access only to the information they need to successfully complete their jobs.
Comply with security suggestions. When software updates come through for your systems, do the update. Often, these updates include protection from the newest security threats. Follow safety guidelines from tool and vehicle manufacturers.
Hire a cybersecurity expert. This expert can review the strength of your shop’s cybersecurity and give you suggestions for improvement.
Get informed. Keep an ear out for cyber threats or cyber breaches that occur in your industry, and talk with other shops to learn what they do to protect themselves from a cyberattack. Train your employees on cybersecurity.
Inform your customers. Urge your customers to contact you if their vehicle is experiencing any glitches, no matter how small. Know who besides your shop has serviced a vehicle or used the OBD port.
Carry proper insurance. Review your insurance policy to ensure it would cover a cyber-related loss.
While nothing can guarantee the prevention of a cyber-attack, taking proactive measures toward cyber-security can help mitigate the risk.