New vehicle technologies are a security and privacy danger zone with ID theft criminals taking advantage of numerous gaps in security, according to a report last week by Senator Edward Markey, D-Mass.

Called "Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk," it talks about how our vehicles may be vulnerable to hackers, and how driver information is being collected and shared with third parties without our knowledge or permission. It also states that the vehicle manufacturers are not doing enough to protect your safety and privacy from hackers.

Think about it. Your new or recent vehicle is now a rolling computer and in many ways connected to the Internet including Bluetooth, GPS and wifi, that can make you vulnerable to hackers.

In addition, your driving behavior and movements are being tracked and recorded by automobile manufacturers including the car's speed, fuel, physical location, steering, braking, and whether or not you use your seat belt.

And as for privacy — forget it! Half of the automobile manufacturers collect, store and transfer your driving history to third parties including data base marketers.

The Markey report is asking federal regulators at the Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take action by reviewing and supporting new privacy and safety standards.

Key findings:

  • Nearly all cars on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.
  • Automobile manufacturers collect large amounts of data on driving history and vehicle performance.
  • A majority of automakers offer technologies that collect and transmit driving history information to data centers, including third-party data centers, and most did not describe effective means to secure the information.
  • Manufacturers use personal vehicle data in various ways, often vaguely to "improve the customer experience" and usually involving third parties, and retention policies.
  • Customers are often not explicitly made aware of data collection and, when they are, they often cannot opt out without disabling valuable features, such as navigation.

I have to admit even I was taken aback to learn about the extent of our personal information being recorded and shared by the automobile manufacturers.

Now we have to be even more vigilant about the technology in our cars that can be a portal for hackers. Also, as a new car buyer, be aware of how auto manufacturers are tracking your personal information with technologies you won't find listed on the vehicle sales sticker!

 

Mark's Most Important: Use the threat of your vehicle being hacked and tracked to drive you to be more aware and to regularly review all of your personally identifiable info.

 

Mark Pribish is vice president and ID-theft practice leader at Merchants Information Solutions Inc., an ID theft-background screening company in Phoenix. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 This article was originally published on AZcentral.com and republished with the author's permission.

 

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