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Should car dealers be concerned about vehicle hacking?

To the Editor:

I would be curious to know how many dealerships and OEMs are actually implementing cybersecurity policies and technology safeguards.

Within the last three years, I have purchased two Acura vehicles. While I utilized the same salesperson for both, different “technology gurus” at the dealership walked me through the revolutionary features and abilities I never had in my older vehicles (e.g., brake hold, which I use every time I drive). Despite interacting with several different technicians both in the sales and service lanes over the past few years, never once did any of them reassure me that my car was secure from hackers. They also did not assure me they have my personal and financial information safeguarded as much as possible within their systems.

Should dealers be bringing up the topic, or should they keep it “hush hush” and hope nothing happens? Key fobs being copied or hacked have seemed to be the main concern over the past decade, but with all of the new technologies, sensors, and trackers being installed in new vehicles and so much digital record-keeping within dealerships, should car buyers be more concerned, too? While older generations may not even think to ask about cybersecurity in their vehicles and the dealership, I am around 30 years old and work in the security field. Should I have asked?

Sure, various consulting firms have consultants that can partner with a dealership to assess their cybersecurity measures and suggest or implement new ones. This, however, oftentimes comes with a hefty bill that smaller dealerships don’t have the budget for. So what can they do? I think everyone should be a little more concerned than we seem to be at this point.

Kevin Decarlo

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