The news last week that two researchers were able to remotely hack into a Jeep from several miles away and shut off its engine has significant implications for the automotive retail space.
Make no mistake, we are now in the hackable vehicle era. As Charlie Vogelheim, an automotive consultant and host of MotorTrend’s Audio Podcast said to me recently, “If it’s connected, it can be hacked.” And just about every vehicle rolling off the line today is connected to a wireless network.
Automakers are paying attention. Following last week’s Wired magazine article recounting how Chris Valasek, Director of Vehicle Security Research for IOActive, and colleague Charlie Miller were able to hack into the Jeep using Sprint’s cellular network to upload code into the vehicle’s UConnect onboard entertainment system, Fiat Chrysler immediately announced a recall affecting 1.4 million vehicles.
We’re going to see a lot more of these in the near future. Although, within the next several months, some automakers should be able to remotely upload a security patch to vehicles connected to their network if the need arise.
So how does this affect dealers? More than they realize. (I just finished an article for an upcoming issue of Dealer Exec, the magazine published by DrivingSales.com, on this topic).
The Banks Report published a 3,100 word piece in December of last year (available to paid subscribers) outlining potential vulnerabilities in the automotive retail space Dealers Are Key in Cyber Attack Wars.
This needs to be an ongoing conversation. But the fact is, the time to start moving is now. A few years ago, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington were able to upload a virus to numerous vehicles using a dealership’s service diagnostic tool.
We’re not just talking about protecting data. This is about protecting businesses and an entire industry from malicious attacks and dealers need to be a big part of that conversation.