Preventing data leaks in vehicle rentals

By Jordan Porter 
Toronto, Ontario – September 11, 2018 — Recently,  Collision Repair magazine detailed the possible legal ramifications that could be faced by repairers who do not adequately protect data on client cars. In addition to this, there is also a concern regarding courtesy vehicles. Carrying many different passengers on a week-to-week basis, hacking such vehicles could not expose sensitive information from a single client, but many dozens.
While it may sound like a fever dream, the topic was addressed during the 2018 International Car Rental Show, held in Las Vegas earlier this year. In a speech from Gallagher Automotive Services representative Jack Cooper, the issue of cyber security breaches was thoroughly detailed. In Cooper’s opinion, the risks could be an especially serious problem for anyone renting out late model vehicles. Through extensive field research, he found that all rental vehicles with Bluetooth and/or navigation technology available had some traces of personal information tied to the vehicle — data which was easily accessible to the next renter, or, for that matter, anyone able to hack the vehicle’s computer.
Cooper went on to explain that information is most commonly left behind when renters connect their smart phones to the vehicle which offers up call history, messaging, and other personal information, or use of the navigation system, which allows succeeding users to see past routes taken. Cooper stressed that this is something that needs to be addressed immediately, as it is only a matter of time that this overlook of compromised client privacy backfires and the company is held responsible.
The presentation concluded with an idea that seems almost tailor-made for the collision repair industry. By training staff in wiping all data, shops could be protected from the legal ramifications of data theft, and also provide a much-needed optional service for customers. 
Cooper also urges that there are very real monetary and legal implications for turning a blind eye to this issue. When news of the danger of data leakage in rental vehicles began to make news headlines, lawsuits pertaining to cases such as this skyrocketed to $30 billion in only a few hours after a major leak of information caused a breach in data for one rental car customer last year.


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