Android for cars: Secure connection?

Fast-forward 17 years and there are apps for everything — even your car. Chances are, if an app might make part of your life easier, someone will develop it and plenty of people will use it.

Over the past few years, the concept of the connected car has continued to evolve — and become reality. At this year’s RSA Conference in San Francisco, our anti-malware researchers Victor Chebyshev and Mikhail Kuzin presented research that they conducted on seven popular apps for vehicles.

The apps seem to make users’ lives easier by linking their Android devices to their automobiles, but we have asked: Are we trading security for convenience? And as with many IoT connected devices, the answer is, security needs to become more of a priority for developers and manufacturers.

The primary functions of these apps are to open doors and in many instances start the car. Unfortunately, flaws in the apps could be exploited by attackers:

No protection against application reverse engineering. As a result, malefactors can dig in and find vulnerabilities that give them access to server-side infrastructure or to the car’s multimedia system.
No code integrity check. This allows criminals to incorporate their own code in the app, adding malicious capabilities and replacing the original program with a fake one on user’s device.
No rooting detection techniques. Root rights provide Trojans with almost endless capabilities and leave the app defenseless.
Lack of protection against overlaying techniques. This allows malicious apps to show phishing windows on top of original apps’ windows, tricking users into entering login credentials in windows that send the info to criminals.
Storage of logins and passwords in plain text. Using this weakness, a criminal can steal users’ data relatively easily.

Upon successful exploitation, an attacker can gain control over the car, unlock the doors, turn off the security alarm and, theoretically, even steal the vehicle.

The researchers disclosed their findings to the developers (they did not disclose names of the apps publicly) and also told them that no exploitations had been seen in the wild. A full, detailed report on this can be found over on Securelist, where each of the apps is evaluated.

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand, thinking you won’t be hacked or that this is the stuff of science fiction, but the truth is, ever since its invention, the automobile has been a target for criminals. And if there is a hack to make things easier, just imagine the possibilities.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we’ve already seen vulnerabilities allow smart white-hat hackers to make the jump from “benign vulnerability” to controlling a car. Two of the bigger automotive stories of the past two years was about how Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek took control of a Jeep via vulnerabilities.

 

Ultimately, personal security and app usage come down to personal preference. Who we share our data with or entrust our convenience to is really up to us. With IoT devices and apps, convenience is too often considered before security.

In closing, Chebyshev notes:

“Applications for connected cars are not ready to withstand malware attacks. We expect that car manufacturer will have to go down the same road that banks have already taken with their applications… After multiple cases of attacks against banking apps, many banks have improved the security of their products.

“Luckily, we have not yet detected any cases of attacks against car applications, which means that car vendors still have time to do things right. How much time they have exactly is unknown. Modern Trojans are very flexible — one day they can act like normal adware, and the next day they can easily download a new configuration, making it possible to target new apps. The attack surface is really vast here.”

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • TwitThis

IS YOUR CAR STILL WHERE YOU PARKED IT?



According to FBI reports, in 2015 in the US alone, a motor vehicle was stolen every 45 seconds.

We spend only a fraction of our time in our cars that we spend a lot of money on, so it’s good to know what goes on with our cars when we’re not around to watch them.

We can’t scare the thieves away or arrest them, but you’ll get a notification to your phone every time someone tries to compromise your car or tamper with the device – even when someone just hits your car while it’s parked, and tries to get away with it. The notification you receive from We will allow you to catch thieves or reckless drivers.

Even if you’re too late to catch the perpetrators on spot, We allows you to monitor the movement of your vehicle and report the location of your car to the authorities so they can retrieve it and return it to the safety of your garage.

With we car tracking feature you can even park your car wherever you like while you run your errands, without ever worrying if your car is safe or if you can remember where you parked it. We provides you peace of mind while your car is parked.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • TwitThis

TOP 10 MOST COMMON CAR MAINTENANCE MISTAKES

Conducting car maintenance can be both a do-it-yourself (DIY) thing and a matter best left to the caring hands of professional mechanics. Although it doesn’t mean to say that either side is immune to some of the most common mistakes in maintaining cars. Given that cars are valuable investments, car owners are always encouraged to practice proper car maintenance, although it can’t be helped that errors may set in.

To ensure that your car doesn’t turn out to be an investment gone bad, you must exercise responsibility in taking good care of it, especially during maintenance work. Here are the five most common instances where car maintenance mistakes take place. Read on to find out what to avoid and how to deal with them moving forward.

1. Taking the smallest things for granted

Always remember that even the most seemingly-insignificant things matter a lot when it comes to car maintenance. From conducting proper engine startups to replacing old wipers, paying attention to mundane details allows your car to last longer. That’s the reason why some motorists tend to encounter problems with their cars early on – they think that the smallest issues won’t transpire to bigger ones as they neglect them.

2. Neglecting the air filter

Don’t think of the air filter as a component that can be dealt with just by cleaning it. Replacing your car’s air filter is something that you must do on a regular basis – once it accumulates too much dirt, then that’s the time to make the right move. Air filters are pretty much generic in form and are easily available in any auto parts store, so those who have allowed their cars to choke in performance through dirty air filters would’ve gotten away had they been more responsible.

3. Skipping on inspecting car fluids

Several motorists have compromised their cars’ performance simply because they neglected the importance of replenishing the various fluids their cars have. Another issue of note is the need for changing engine oil – some motorists have experience the worst in the form of engine damage simply because they overlooked such process. To make sure your car gets to perform better as it steers away from component damage, keep your eyes on the lookout for changes in car fluids.

4. Overlooking brake pads

Having a case of bad brakes can never be part of good news for every motorist. Most of the time, unreplaced brake pads have led to greater problems attributed to the integrity of steering systems. In other words, not replacing your brake pads exposes your car to greater risks – the worst being crashes caused by faulty brakes. For that, make sure to replace your car’s brake pads the moment they start showing untenable wear and tear.

5. Overlooking tire conditions

There are several things that can happen when you neglect your car’s tires, the most common being tire blowouts and loss of vehicular control leading to crashes. If you fail to have your tires rotated or inflated according to the right pressure, then chances are that those dire consequences can take place with greater possibility. Never ignore your car’s tires – see if they’re in tip-top shape to see if they’re fit for the standard idea of safe travels.

6. Driving with an overheated engine

Why some drivers still insist on driving with their engine compartment already smoking is a matter beyond comprehension. Obviously, an overheated engine should prompt you to stop driving already, lest you wish to flirt with the idea of your car getting caught in flames. In case of engine overheating, dial for roadside assistance or a towing service.

7. Proceeding with DIY without proper knowledge

Again, car maintenance is truly a DIY thing. But in cases where you do not have the proper know-how, you should not risk doing things on your own. When in doubt, always call for roadside assistance should you find yourself at a standstill in the middle of the road. Also, keep numbers of professional technicians who can inspect your car and restore it to full health.

8. Ignoring your windshield wipers

It is always easy to take the smallest things for granted. Take the case of windshield wipers – while they tend to be overused particularly during the rainy season, their replacement tends to be the least concern of some car owners. But as time passes, windshield wipers become more brittle, leading it to leave unwanted stains on your windshield during use. For that, it always pays for you to have time to check your windshield wipers and see if they should be replaced.

9. Neglecting your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning light

Your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning light indicates whether your tires need to have their tire pressure increased. Unless you wish to experience how having a tire blowout feels like, you should not risk ignoring your TPMS warning light the moment it lights up. Bring your car to the nearest service center to have your tire pressure increased, or you may do so on your own with the proper equipment and know-how.

10. Disregarding the Check Engine warning light

Sure, your car may still operate normally with your Check Engine warning light already glaring on your dashboard. But the thing is, you should never keep your complacency high when your Check Engine warning light starts lighting up. Take your car to the nearest service center for a checkup, or prepare yourself with some essential diagnostic tools if you wish to deal with that through DIY in the future.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • TwitThis