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Is Car Hacking The New Car Jacking?

Car Hacking
Carmudi examines why Philippines should be concerned about car hacking

A month ago, online news released an article about two security specialists who commandeered a Jeep Cherokee’s onboard computers, and took control of the air conditioner, windshield wipers, and most terrifying, the accelerator and brakes.

Recently, Volkswagen lost a two-year battle to suppress files about how hi-tech criminals are able to hack into their vehicles electronically. These news stories are leading motorists to ask the question: How safe are modern vehicles nowadays?

To find out more about this interesting topic,  Carmudi, the safest way to sell or buy your car online, examines why Philippines should be concerned about car hacking.

Car hacking is a type of internet crime where criminals can seize control of a vehicle from their laptops, sometimes from across the country. With rapidly developing in-car technologies, vehicles are increasingly vulnerable to hacks, particularly the keyless entry hack and the UConnect hack.

The keyless entry hack is a popular car exploit which works by intercepting radio signals to lock and unlock car doors. The hacker grabs the code and resends it to the car alarm. Voila! Open sesame. The criminals can proceed to take any valuables they find inside the car. The UConnect hack, works by gaining access to the car’s internal network via the Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling the firmware to be completely re-written in order to grant access to the car’s physical controls, making the car steer wildly, speed up or slow down and even blow out its tires.

Car hacking is a growing problem in developed countries, particularly in the UK, where last year, 6000 vehicles were stolen using the keyless entry hack in London alone. But, is car hacking relevant in Philippines?

Organized Internet Crime and Car Hacking in the Emerging Markets
Car hacking is not relevant in Asia and Africa, at least for now. With an average selling price of $55,000, internet connected vehicles are out of reach for most car buyers in the emerging world.

Car theft is a real problem in Bangladesh where initiatives from the government and the private sector have failed to put a brake on vehicle crime. Some 2,751 complaints of vehicle theft were recorded at police stations across the country in 2014 against 2,597 in 2013 and 2,660 in 2012.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia has overtaken China to become the number one source of cyber attack traffic, according to a report by internet monitoring company Akamai. The country accounted for 38% of hacking-related traffic, a figure that has almost doubled since the beginning of this year. Last year the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group recorded 614 cybercrime incidents, compared to 2013 where there were only 288 incidents.

“Internet crime will continue to grow as internet usage in the region rises. Car hacking is a new concept and given the low number of internet-connected vehicles on roads in Asia, car hacking is set to remain irrelevant in the foreseeable future” said Subir Lohani, Managing Director of Carmudi Philippines.

Lohani further explained, “Although, we are far from that scenario on combating for car hackers. We are also thankful that the government and local operatives are doing their campaigns and safety measures on how to reduce carjacking.”

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