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Intruder Alert: Tips to avoid cyberattacks in the age of hacking

Toronto, Ontario – Reliance on digital connectivity in the automotive industry at all levels from corporation to fleet and consumer is leaving the industry increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to an article by Tripwire.

While apocalyptic claims that cyberattacks would send planes plummeting and calculators bursting into flame aren’t new, fourth-generation interconnectivity is a new phenomenon that highlights technological dependency across multiple industries.

Just a few weeks ago, hospitals and emergency hotlines shut down when the Rogers network had a software issue. In our industry, a teenage hacker tapped into Teslas across multiple continents, tracking their owners and demonstrating the ability to control the vehicle doors and brakes. Similarly, local criminals have successfully duplicated key fob signals to steal cars – a digital alternative to the lockpick and sparkplug.

Tripwire has some suggestions for OEMs and automakers to secure their vehicles from the factory, but here are some tips to protect your shop from potential cyberattacks.

  1. Back to basics
    • Just like your shop is (hopefully) locked up at the end of the day, your passwords should be regularly changed every few months. Equipping all laptops, cell phones and computers with anti-virus products might save the shop from more malicious attacks, like computer viruses or targeted hacks.
  2. Tool maintenance
    • While unlikely, a bug from a car entering your shop could theoretically affect other systems in your shop. Update the firmware on your scanning, diagnostic and calibration tools as soon as possible. These assets double as potential bridges for malware between customer vehicles and your shop.
  3. Future-proofing
    • Following the previous point, include telematics as a point of consideration when buying new tools and software. Given that almost everything in the shop could become connected, ask vendors about the cybersecurity countermeasures built into their products, especially vehicle diagnostic tools.


Do you have quicker, easier tips to fortify digital systems or a shop that has experienced a cyberattack? Let us know in the comments below!

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