6 Ways Your Car Can Be Hacked

“Your car can be hacked.” This statement likely conjures up mental images of a cybercriminal behind a computer screen, attempting to break into your vehicle using technology. However, this is not the only way that someone could hack into your vehicle.

In fact, there are at least six different ways that hackers could gain access to your vehicle’s computer systems. This article will discuss each of those six ways and provide helpful tips on how to protect your car from being hacked.

1. You can be hacked by using a smart key

A smart key is any key that enables you to open or start your vehicle without inserting the actual metal key into the ignition, trunk, or doors manually – rather, the car will wirelessly recognize the key and unlock itself when it is in close proximity to the vehicle.

You may have already seen this feature on many vehicles within the past decade or so, but are you aware that this could be used by hackers to gain access to your personal data?

If a cybercriminal were able to get their hands on your smart key, they would be able to access all of the data that is stored on it. This data can consist of credit card numbers, social security numbers, and even banking information.

2. Your car’s computer systems can be hacked through your cell phone

If you have a Bluetooth connection in your vehicle for hands-free calling or Bluetooth audio, your car’s computer systems could be hacked through the use of your cell phone.

If you are driving down the road and talking on your cell phone, it is possible for a cybercriminal to remotely take control of essential parts of your vehicle by intercepting any data that is sent between your car and the cell tower – this includes everything from your car’s GPS coordinates and the amount of gasoline left in your tank.

3. A hacker could track and intercept your car’s GPS data

Hackers can actually track and intercept your car’s GPS data, which is an especially big concern if you use a navigation system to get around. The vulnerabilities that come with using this type of navigation system can be dangerous and could leave you vulnerable to identity theft and other types of fraud.

4. An attacker could change the route you take to get to your destination or use it as a tracking device

Another way that hackers could gain access to your vehicle’s GPS coordinates is by intercepting those coordinates as they come from your car, which could cause you to take a different route than the one that you originally planned.

If your car’s GPS coordinates are intercepted by someone other than yourself, they could track where you have been and where you are going – this information can be used as a way to track your daily habits and plan future attacks on your vehicle.

5. Hackers could remotely unlock the doors and start the engine while you’re away from your vehicle

Yes, this is possible. Hackers could actually gain access to your car’s computer systems and do all of this without even having to get their hands on your smart key or by physically getting into your car.

This would be a situation where someone hacked into your car’s computer system and used it as a way to control other parts of the vehicle – like its doors and engine.

6. If you have an older model, they may be able to access the onboard diagnostics (OBD) port in order to control other parts of your vehicle

Outdated cars can actually be a bigger concern than newer models when it comes to this type of hacking because older vehicles do not have the same types of security measures as newer ones.

For example, on-board diagnostics (OBD) ports are only on the newest models and the majority of those who have OBD ports have a port on a lower model car.

This means that if someone were to get their hands on your older car, they could use this OBD port in order to control other parts of your vehicle like its brakes, steering system, etcetera.


Automotive cybersecurity is a growing concern for those who have newer models as well as those with older ones. If you have any questions about this, visit the Keyfactor blog.