The risks posed by hackers taking control of your vehicle

The dashboard on contemporary cars do a lot more than provide you with the time, temperature outside or information about how well your car's systems are functioning. They now can allow you to stream music from online sources, get driving directions and maps to help you commute between locations, or help you manage your call log or send text messages.

With internet access being available at the mere touch of a button, it exposes motorists to far more unsafe situations than they'd probably ever fathom. The risk of them being hacked into is pretty high.

One cybersecurity expert notes that there's not just a risk of a hacker logging onto your car's onboard system to steal your personal information that you need to worry about. Instead, he notes that even more concerning is that individual's ability to use its smartcar features to control the vehicle from afar.

A 2015 study, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that at least 1.5 million American's onboard systems had inherent flaws that would allow them to become comprised by a hacker.

For its part, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns that even the most novice of hackers need only to pay $30 or less to break into a car's internet-connected dashboard. They warn that, if several hackers take control of multiple vehicles in a close geographic area at the same time, such actions could have catastrophic consequences.

While auto manufacturers find themselves constantly releasing updates to software to minimize the risk of onboard systems being hacked into, they can't necessarily keep up with the hackers. It's likely that accidents will occur until they find a way to protect them.

For now, cybersecurity experts recommend for all motorists driving smartcars to disable any unused features and to avoid hacking their own cars. They also warn that you should be cautious about what smart devices you keep plugged into your car and who has access to your onboard equipment to make modifications.

If you suspect that your car's been hacked into because of onboard security system deficits, a Nashville products liability attorney may advise you of your right to file a lawsuit.

Source: ABC 3 WEAR TV, "FBI: Car hacking is real and dangerous," Jamarlo Phillips, Nov. 14, 2017

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