IoT Security in the Auto Industry

When we consider the Internet of Things (IoT) in the automobile market, most of us will think about the connected car or the Google car. Today, these benefits are consumer orientated and provide basic convenience, maintenance and safety functions. In the future, especially with the ongoing development and testing of the self-driving Google car, our entire experience with how we interact with our cars will be revolutionized. Someday, we may just all be passengers where vehicles communicate with one another, to maximize safety and optimize efficiency to get us from point A to point B.

If we then mention security, the 60 minutes piece that aired in 2015 about hacking the internet-connected Jeep most likely will be top of mind. Was it sensational? Sure, but it did highlight a potential critical flaw and security vulnerability that resulted in 1.4 million vehicles being recalled. Additionally, car manufacturers are increasingly marketing their connected features from onboard Wi-Fi, to mobile apps that control the locks and even start vehicles. In these cases, the novelty of these “cool” features often outweigh the negative impacts. So what happens when the consumer’s phone is stolen? Are there appropriate security and authentication measures in place to ensure their car is then not stolen as well? These are all things to think about.

Should we as consumers be concerned? Maybe, maybe not, as it may still be too early for these issues to turn into an epidemic. However, we should start becoming more aware of these connected features and how they can impact us, both positively and negatively. Security will need to be addressed especially as more vehicles offer internet-connected features. Our safety and the privacy of our personal information and property will depend upon it.

New Risks Facing Auto Manufacturers

For now, the people who should be really concerned about these vulnerabilities are the auto manufacturers. Negative high-profile news like the 60 minutes piece can be quite damaging to their brands and reputation. Additionally, these vulnerabilities put consumer safety at risk and significantly drive the cost of warranty replacements up when repairs are needed on potentially more than a million vehicles. Nobody wants to be associated with a story such as that and have to deal with expensive reputation repair and resulting financial losses. Fiat Chrysler has had to do a lot of damage control, including an extensive and costly recall of their vehicles. Now, if something tragic had resulted from this, the damage could have been unrepairable and affected whether the manufacturer would be able to stay in business or not.

But, issues like this may just be the tip of the iceberg of security concerns for car manufacturers. While hacking a vehicle and taking control over some of its functions gets the media attention, what happens during the engineering and manufacturing stages could be the most critical. Here are a couple of examples…

Security Concerns on the Manufacturing Floor

The automobile manufacturing process needs to be very precise and meet the highest quality standards to put a car on the road. The safety of everyone on the road depends upon the quality of vehicles being manufactured and sold. The manufacturing process is now very automated (almost fully). To further optimize the process, manufacturing facilities and the equipment are being interconnected to share and analyze important data. This is Industrial IoT (IIoT). What can be done with this data can be very powerful and potentially save manufacturers millions of dollars. However, connecting this equipment does open new vulnerabilities, which can put the manufacturer, its employees and consumers at risk.

If a malicious attack is successful at compromising a piece of manufacturing equipment or software service, serious issues can occur. If a hacker is able to gain access to a sensor that monitors the operating temperature of a piece of manufacturing equipment, how could that potentially affect the safety of the employees? Now, what if an attack is successful at making a simple modification to the software that instructs a piece equipment as to how many bolts it installs to brace the framing of the car in the assembly process? How would that impact the safety of the consumer? It’s these behind-the-scenes IIoT security scenarios that must be addressed before they become the next sensational news story.

Ensuring Firmware Integrity

Now that cars have basically become computer processors on wheels, there is a significant amount of software and firmware on board that controls many of the vehicle’s functions. The initial install of this software and firmware is carried out during the manufacturing process and generally conducted in a controlled environment. However, as the vehicle hits the road and ages, it’s inevitable that there will be software and firmware upgrades. These upgrades could be performed by certified dealers or any mechanic that has access to the vehicle. How do you know that right software or firmware is being installed in your car? You probably have no clue and your mechanic may not know either. However, if the software/firmware was signed, the integrity can be validated and ensure that only the proper updates are made and malicious software, or firmware is not installed in your vehicle.

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Prepare For A Spring Road Trip By Keeping Your Car In Good Shape With An Auto Warranty



A really fun family activity during the spring is a road trip. Although road trips are fun, stress and frustration often occur for families while out on the road. Be sure to keep in mind the following tips in order to make certain that your family’s trip is a great one.

The best thing to do to prepare for a road trip is to get your family car in tip-top shape. Be sure to give the car a good tune-up because there is no worse hassle than experiencing a vehicle breakdown while out on your road trip. Be sure to have an auto warranty for your car so that the necessary maintenance and repairs won’t drain your wallet.

Also, be sure to plan ahead so that during the trip, your family knows what is going on. This can relieve stress and make things go a lot smoother. In addition, make certain that you invest in a GPS so that you get to your intended destination as planned.

However, it is impossible to predict when you will run into bumps in the road such as traffic and road construction. These occurrences are inevitable, so keep calm and don’t stress so that you and your family can enjoy the road trip.

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Does Your Warranty Include Wear & Tear Coverage?

When purchasing extended coverage for your vehicle is important to understand what the coverage does and does not cover. One of the main items that some “shady” companies will exclude from coverage is breakdowns of covered parts that have failed due to wear & tear. A wear & tear failure is a breakdown of the part has not completely failed but is no longer working the way the manufacturer intended to. This means that if a covered part has not completely failed, but is beginning to fail but has not stopped working completely or broken into pieces they would exclude it from their coverage.

It is important to know the difference between wear & tear items and scheduled maintenance items. Scheduled maintenance items are not covered by any extended automobile warranty. Examples of scheduled maintenance items are oil changes, tune-ups, tires, wiper blades, batteries, etc.

All “reputable” auto warranty companies will include breakdowns of covered parts that have failed for any reason including wear & tear. All Auto Advantage auto warranty programs include breakdowns due to wear & tear.

 

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Auto Warranty Company Fake Testimonials, Endorsements, Recommendations and False Claims…

We are often questioned on why we don’t post any testimonials of our happy customers on our website. It is unfortunate, but it is become the practice of many companies, both reputable and not reputable, to either create their own testimonials or higher a public relations firm to do it for them. This is obviously a dishonest and poor way to run a business. We choose not to post testimonials, though we have many, as we simply will not fall into this group.

So how is a consumer supposed to know what companies are reputable and what companies are not? The last thing a customer wants to do is invest their hard-earned money in a warranty program that will simply not pay claims as they promise. The best way to protect yourself as a consumer is to make sure you follow the following guides…

• First, make sure the company you choose for your warranty coverage has been in business 10 years or more so they have shown experience successfully paying claims, not simply selling plans and collecting premiums.
• Second, make sure the plan you choose is directly underwritten by a US-based, A rated insurance carrier. Many “so-called” auto warranty companies are simply corporations or risk retention groups and have no financial or insurance backing. Having a directly underwritten plan means that if the warranty administrator ever fails to exist, your claims will automatically be paid by the insurance carrier and your coverage will be valid regardless.
• Third, you want to choose a company that has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and perhaps more importantly has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

The bottom line is that as you research the different coverage available to you, do not only look at the items covered and the price of coverage, look at the tenure and reliability of the company you are purchasing from. Though we are not the only company in the auto warranty industry, we are one of the best. To obtain a quote visit our webpage.

 

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Shopping For A Used Car? How To Make Sure You Don’t Get Burned…

There are many ways to shop for used car. You can go from dealer to dealer and used car lot to used car lot, you can go on many of the used car sites online, or even an auction site online. Regardless of how you go about finding a vehicle it is important you understand what to look out for to make sure the you are not purchasing somebody else’s discarded problems. Here are some tips that might help you to find a high-quality vehicle that hopefully will serve you for many years to come…

1. Take your time when evaluating a vehicle. Take several walks around the exterior of the vehicle noting any imperfections you may find. Open the doors, trunk, and hood and look for anything that does not look like it was original or just doesn’t look right. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions and evaluate the answers you received. Do the same with the interior, take your time and sit in the vehicle and make sure you try all of the equipment and accessories to make sure they are operating properly. Shift the vehicle into drive, neutral, and reverse and make sure it seems to shift quickly and smoothly. If not, expensive repairs may be imminent.

2. Ask for a vehicle history report such as Carfax or AutoCheck. Make sure the vehicle has no major negative events in its history and that there are no odometer discrepancies.

3. Start the engine and open up the hood. Your eyes, ears, and nose are your best friends here. You want to look for any visible oil leaks. You want to listen for any unusual sounds. And you want to make sure that there are no unusual smells, for instance something smelling like it’s burning. Check the transmission fluid by pulling out the dipstick and checking the level and giving it a quick smell. If the vehicle was just started the transmission fluid level should be near the cold marker. You want to make sure it does not smell burnt as this could identify a current or pending problem. When the engine is turned off again pull out the oil dipstick and again, make sure it looks like it is not dirty and does not smell burnt. The color of the oil should be similar to dark amber.

4. Now it’s time for a test drive. Before you start moving check the steering system. Open the windows and turned the steering wheel hard all the way to one side, and then the other. You want to make sure there is no resistance and that there are no loud squealing sounds which could signify a problem with costly parts of the steering system. You will also want to jiggle the wheel back and forth a bit from the center position and make sure that it doesn’t have any play. Going from one side to the other. It should feel firm when turning from one side to the other. Once you are confident the vehicle is safe to drive make sure you drive it with the windows open and closed. Make sure you don’t hear any noises that seem uncommon. If you do find any potential issues and you are not sure what they are make sure to have a qualified mechanic look the car over before you complete the purchase. While driving, make sure to pay attention to the brakes. Do they feel like they are working properly and stopping the car efficiently? If not, they may need to be addressed and that could help you as any other problems found, in negotiating a better purchase price.

5. Last, but certainly not least. Asked to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic or shop of your choice. If there is any resistance to having the vehicle inspected run, don’t walk away from the vehicle as is a telltale sign there are going to be issues found.

Once you have found the right vehicle and have made a purchase it is a sound financial decision and great idea to purchase a quality used car warranty. An auto warranty can protect you from the inevitable major or minor repairs that you will face down the road. There are few reputable companies that will allow you to purchase coverage directly, excluding the dealer and their profit, at wholesale pricing. A great place to start is Auto Advantage Inc.

 

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How to Make Your Best Deal for Model-Year-End Automobile Purchase

Generally in August and September most manufacturers introduce their new models for 2017. This creates an excellent opportunity for car buyers to get very strong deals on 2016 models that are still in inventory. There are however, some tips on how to make your best model year end deal.

Do your research online before you step into a dealership. You want to do your research so that when you get to the dealership you have a good idea of what you want to purchase, and even have some idea of pricing as many of the sites on the Internet provide this service as well.

Timing is important as well. Some models may be a good deal now, but a great deal later. As we approach year-end vehicles that are still left over will continue to drop in price and become much better values.

Many of the manufacturer’s offer very attractive financing or leasing options as well as strong cash-back offers. Weigh your options carefully as depending on your situation, cash-back may be a better deal than financing you may not have needed in the first place.

Typically the vehicles that are being redesigned completely will offer significantly better deals on their model predecessor. This again offers an opportunity to get a lot of car for a lot less money. Look for these models and negotiate your best deal on the 2016’s which will likely be heavily discounted and incentivized.

Lastly, it may be worthwhile to look at manufacturers whose vehicles you don’t currently own. Many of these manufacturers offer “conquest” deals that will offer additional cash-back offers should you decide to switch makes and move over to their product line.

As always, regardless of which car you choose it is very important to consider extended warranty coverage. An extended auto warranty is your best bet on protecting yourself from the inevitable, and unexpected car repair bills you will likely face.

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Deciphering Your Auto Warranty

Your automobile warranty should provide you with the specific coverage you need. A warranty with loopholes can add stress to rather than relief the intensity of a break-down, unexpected repair, or a minor collision. Car trouble that is unanticipated is difficult enough without showing up to the mechanic with a disappointing amount of coverage.

warranty coverageFind out if your warranty covers all of the incidents that you desire. Warranties can vary greatly in their specific coverage, so once again tackle that fine print to ensure that what you are buying is what you will be offered should the situation occur. Extended warranties can be deceiving if expected to cover all that a regular warranty doesn’t.

Extended warranties are meant to provide extra security for travelers who would like the peace of mind of having them, but it doesn’t mean all accidents or incidents are going to be completely covered. Ask a warranty sales person about all of the inclusions in the warranty to make an educated decision about your vehicle coverage.

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Does An Extended Auto Warranty Cover Overheating?

When you are choosing an extended auto warranty program is important to look through the various exclusions of the policy you are purchasing. Most reputable auto warranty providers make their inclusions and exclusions clear and concise and have no mixed wording to confuse a repair shop or customer. However, some of the shadier companies out there, typically without a direct underwriter to get out of many different claim situations.

Overheating is a good example of this. Some companies will exclude any repair, even if it has nothing to do with the vehicle overheating if there is any sign that an overheat has occurred. More reputable providers will cover the failure of any covered part as long as owner negligence did not close the failure. Owner negligence in reference to a vehicle that is overheated would be if a driver would continue to operate the vehicle even after the gauges or warning lights have come on. This would obviously cause additional damage to the vehicle from continued operation after the overheat and would not be covered by any warranty program. So in conclusion, it is not overheating that is not covered by a quality auto warranty program, it is the damage caused to the vehicle by the continued operation after the vehicle has overheated.

To be sure you get one of the highest quality auto warranty is available you can request a quote from Auto Advantage or other A+ rated and BBB accredited warranty companies.

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Extended Car Warranty, How To Choose The Right Plan

 There are many extended car warranty programs to choose from but it can be a bit tricky to find a “reputable” plan to suit your needs. The best way to choose a reliable extended car warranty program is to find a company that makes the following criteria…

1. Make sure the company is in business for 10 years or more. This assures you that they are not only in the business of selling coverage but also successfully paying claims.
2. You want to choose a company that has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and perhaps more importantly, is accredited by the BBB which holds them to a much higher standard of excellent business practices and customer service.
3. You want the warranty program to be directly underwritten by a US-based insurance carrier holding at least an A rating with an industry rating service such as AMBest or Standard & Poors. This will assure you that if any part of the claims administration process fails the underwriter will directly pick up all claims if needed.

There are also many different levels of coverage available for your vehicle. These levels are Powertrain, Major Component Plus, High-Tech Component, Component Type Bumper-To-Bumper, or Exclusionary Bumper-To-Bumper coverage. Depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle all or most of these levels could be available. It is important to look through the different levels of coverage for any companies you are considering side-by-side to make sure that you are purchasing the best coverage available for your needs. Do not rely on plan names such as Platinum, Elite, or Gold as they do not always correctly define the level of coverage you are purchasing. Some less than reputable companies will take a very basic plan and label it with a very fancy name. You want to look at the actual list of what is covered to make sure you are getting what you’re paying for.

All in all, an extended car warranty is an excellent investment and can save you thousands of dollars over the term of the coverage. To begin researching the different types of coverage you can visit Auto Advantage and see what the choices are. It is a great idea to fill out the quote request form and let them send you the specifics including coverage details and pricing.

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Why Should Consumers Purchase An Extended Warranty For Their Car?

Most cars come with a manufacturer’s warranty for 3 years or 36,000 miles. Some have longer 4 year were 50,000 mile coverage. And even fewer have a 5 year or 60,000 mile warranty. As fate would have it, most major auto repairs occur after the manufacturer’s warranty period expires. Purchasing an extended auto warranty can save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on each repair. And as repairs at up over the life of an extended car warranty it is not uncommon to have savings equal $5,000, or even $10,000 or more.

If your car is out of warranty, or will soon be out of warranty and you don’t want to or don’t have the ability to pay these high repair bills that are imminent, purchasing an extended auto warranty is a consumers best bet.

To learn more about the different types of coverage available for your vehicle and the cost visiting a “reliable” company’s website for a quote is a great idea. A good place to start might be visiting Auto Advantage who have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and are also accredited by the BBB and who have been supplying car warranties to the public since 1979.

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