Customers of Parra Auto Care may not realize this, but your shop is standing guard for you and your vehicle. Specifically, keeping your car’s computers up–to-date is critical, and we want to explain why.
Software Updates Ramp-up
In recent months, you may have noticed increasingly more frequent notifications that your home computer or mobile phone needs a software update. The reasons for the updates include functionality, security, and others. As the Internet of Things and smart device connectivity become more pervasive, expect more updates going forward.
Modern automobiles generally have 25 to 50 computer modules onboard, fueled by 100 million lines of software code, that communicate vehicle data across approximately 2.5 miles of wired vehicle networks. Software can have many bugs, most of them not identified until after new vehicles are purchased. Updates provide the remedies to bugs, but only once they have been properly downloaded and installed.
Automakers say more than 70 percent of 1995 and newer vehicles could benefit from one or more updates to the onboard computer modules. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), up until three years ago, the vast majority of vehicle recalls were due to mechanical issues. But in the last three years, more than three-quarters of all vehicle recalls have been due to software related issues, most of which require an update to be installed.
Then in May 2018, FBI Special Agent Paul Schaaf submitted a report to the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) that added fuel to the need for car owners to protect themselves. “Vehicles today are rolling networks. Over the past two years, the FBI determined more than half of all vehicle cyberattacks were initiated through personal mobile phones and tablets connected to a vehicle, not the vehicle itself. Once connected, the vehicle and the hacker can both crawl address books, emails, SMS messages, most visited locations and more. online in the last month, and vice versa. It’s then easy to steal your personal and financial data, as well as gain control of your car and/or all the data sources and connected devices inside it for theft, ransomware, or other malicious purposes.” Not sure of how your vehicle could be hacked? Watch the Consumer Reports video, co-produced with NHTSA.