Alicia M. lives in Puyallup, Washington. She owns a Kia and takes precautions to prevent her car from being stolen.
As soon as the Kia dealership offered the security upgrade, she took her car in for the repair.
The upgrade was designed to require a key to be in the ignition to start the car. It also included a kill switch to prevent the car from being stolen.
She thought her car was safe from thieves, but she was wrong.
Two months after getting the security upgrade Alicia’s Kia was stolen.
“I ran downstairs and sure enough and I just started crying. I just started bawling like are you serious,” said Alicia.
“I went and I got the software anyway because it was going to make me feel better so that’s why my club was in the back seat of my car that day because why? They can’t steal my car,” she said.
When Kia announced the security upgrade the company said it would be the best defense against thieves.
A Kia spokesperson said, “We not only do the software upgrade to the car we’re also putting stickers on the back windows that say this vehicle has been given upgraded theft deterrent software. Thieves don’t like to give extra time.”
Alicia said the sticker on her car window didn’t cause the thieves to hesitate at all. Her car was stolen in less than three minutes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the majority of stolen Kia’s are often used to commit other crimes.
There have been hundreds of car crashes, injuries, and deaths caused by criminals driving a stolen Kia.
The reason that it’s so easy to steal certain models of Kia is that the cars lack a device called an immobilizer.
An immobilizer prevents the car from starting if the key or key fob doesn’t match the car.
Since Kias don’t have this, thieves can break into the vehicle, remove the steering column, and jam a key into the ignition.
Even though these are newer model cars they are still easy to steal.
With any type of new car technology, thieves will eventually find a way to get around it.
This includes newer technology like digital car keys.
What are digital car keys?:
Digital car keys are mobile phone-based keys that can control the opening, locking, and starting of a vehicle.
In other words, car owners could use smartphones, smartwatches, and other connected devices to access their vehicles.
The biggest issue with digital car keys is, of course, security.
It’s expected that digital car keys will use near-field communication and Bluetooth technology (both of which have been around for a long time).
But sadly, these technologies are not hack-proof.
One of the simplest ways a hacker could get around a digital car key is to clone it.
In theory, they could trick the car into thinking they have the smartphone used to open and start the car.
Think about how often computers are hacked.
In the majority of cases, hackers don’t have physical access to the computer they are infiltrating, and they still gain access.
Yet, with cars, getting physical access is a lot easier – whether it’s a parking lot or a driveway where a hacker could park next to it and go to work.
And if a hacker can physically access the device, breaking into it will be that much easier.
Imagine leaving your computer in the driveway. It wouldn’t be long before a hacker figured out a way to access the data.
Nothing is unhackable:
Major car and tech companies are working towards making digital car keys a reality.
But the keys have to be user-friendly while also being secure.
However, with enough time a determined hacker can find a way to get into almost any device they want.
Not only could hackers target specific cars and manufacturers, they could also attack the backend of the technology used and housed by the car maker.
The reality is that digital car keys may be another way for car manufacturers to make money.
For instance, car makers could charge extra fees for the digital key.
On top of that, they could charge fees for the latest tech upgrades, which could include needed security measures.
But digital keys are potentially opening the door for hackers to access or steal your car, and they could usher in more car thefts than we’ve ever seen.
The more technology driven our society becomes, the more potential points of intrusion and security failures there are.
Hackers are always on the prowl, probing the weak spots in your overall security plan, searching for ways to gain access and steal your data.
That’s why you need a robust plan to defend yourself and your family’s private and personal information from attack by hackers and thieves.