New Cars Spy On Us Non-Stop. What Can You Do About It?

Most 21st century cars are turning into larger, drivable forms of the smartphone.

Sounds unlikely? Think about the in-vehicle infotainment system. An infotainment system is a dashboard mounted hardware and software system that provides information, audio and entertainment services.

A car’s infotainment system can act as a GPS device, make hands-free calls, connect to your home’s WiFi network, send emails and more.

The global infotainment system industry for vehicles was valued at $22 billion in 2018. It’s big business and will grow by more than 10% by 2026.

However, if you’ve ever driven a car with a modern infotainment system, you now have cause for worry.

Cyber security experts warn that vehicular infotainment systems are becoming burgeoning digital privacy threats akin to unprotected smart devices or laptops.

Your use of a car, or rental car, infotainment system can open you up to hacking, tracking and having your private information sold.

In May 2020, a cyber-security expert called GreenTheOnly reported the experience of buying old infotainment system dashboards containing the accumulated personal information of previous owners, in electric vehicle magazine InsideEVs.

Amazingly, GTO was able to purchase four Tesla infotainment dashboards components off of eBay containing troves of valuable personal information.

GTO said that each component had data such as the previous owner’s “home and work location, all saved Wi-Fi passwords, calendar entries from the phone, call lists and address books from paired phones, Netflix and other stored session cookies.”

It takes specialized training to access the data in an infotainment component. The dashboard may have to be removed to obtain such information.

Protective measures

And there is no appreciable data to support the idea that personal information is being stolen from infotainment systems as they are being used. That doesn’t change the fact that you can easily purchase such components on eBay that do contain private information.

If you know where to look, you can buy infotainment components for car models like BMW, Cadillac, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz on eBay.

Astonishingly, GTO reported the experience to Tesla and said the car company refused to commit to notifying its data-compromised customers.

To bypass downloading and storing personal data on a vehicle’s infotainment system use analogue systems in your smart device by plugging it into the charger. Once you plug a smart device or thumb drive into the USB port of an infotainment system, the data is automatically stored.

If you sell or rent a car with an infotainment system, be vigilant of digital security as you would an old smart phone or laptop.

You could also take the vehicle to a dealership or mechanic and request they delete infotainment system data. There is no guarantee such measures will be successful, however.

Recommended Articles

Interview: Rates Will Stay Low, Uber ‘to the Moon’

Don't expect the Federal Reserve to even tap on the brakes anytime soon, says Bob Iaccino, editor of the Stock Think Tank. On Thursday, Fed Chairman Jerome threw cold water

3 Crucial Ways to Keep Your Brain Strong Well into Retirement

For people whose whole life has revolved around using their mind, retirement can be a bind. All of those degrees and awards, the presentation notes, the papers, the grand vision

self employed taxes

Help! I’m Self-Employed and My Taxes Are a Mess!

In the not-so-distant past, the word “gig” was used only to describe the work environment for musicians and comedians who would travel from city to city for performances for one

Your Chances of Seeing a Doctor When You Get Sick Are Falling Fast

New studies have emerged that point to a severe shortage of doctors and other vital health workers is on the horizon for the United States. The first report, conducted by the Association

Iaccino: I Took Profits On Bitcoin, but It Has Nowhere to Go But Up

Bitcoin's pull back from recent highs has not dissuaded Stock Think Tank editor Bob Iaccino from owning the cryptocurrency — but he has taken profits. Bitcoin climbed from below $20,000

Facebook Discloses Secret Rules On What Posts Get Blocked — and Why

Ever had a post on Facebook blocked — by Facebook? For the first time, the company is explaining why. The social media giant has now disclosed the once-secret rules on

Iaccino: Buy the Rumors, Sell the Facts On Biden Transition

Bob Iaccino, editor of the Stock Think Tank, says investors should prepare to "buy the rumor and sell the fact" when it comes to plans of the incoming administration of

financial checklist

12 Crucial Money Steps to Take Now for a Better Year Ahead

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to reset your finances and work towards a more profitable and productive year. Here is a financial checklist with 12

A Simple Strategy to Live Longer by Quitting Work Yet Still ‘Working’

Some see early retirement as the kiss of death, but one study has shown this to be a myth. Retiring early can actually lengthen your life. A 2017 study published in the

deal on new car

Get a Great Deal On a New Car or Truck Using This Tactic

My lease was up on my 2018 vehicle. I was excited to go car shopping. However, what I realized as I ventured out was that the auto industry also has

Renting vs. Buying: What’s Best for Your Retirement?

A white picket fence surrounding a house with 2.4 children, a dog, a cat, a station wagon. This is the American dream. But owning your own home might not be

A Simple Strategy That Boosts Your Social Security Payout by Double Digits

The advantages of Social Security are numerous, but one that people don’t often realize is its flexibility. By changing the age at which you start claiming retirement benefits, you can