Remote Car Control Smart Phone Apps – Convenient, but Maybe Not Safe

Mobile smartphones have made our lives incredibly convenient in a number of ways. One of the latest trends in app stores involves apps that will unlock your car and even start it from your phone. The convenience of pushing a button from inside the house to warm up your car before you are ready to leave is undeniable, but the wireless network that makes it possible is not as safe as it could be. The truth is, if you can access your car through a wireless connection, someone else with the right hacking skills can do it too.

Free Apps Will Unlock and Start Your Car Remotely

One of the most popular remote apps is available for drivers who have the OnStar system. Other companies are beginning to enter the remote app market, however. Car Link Remote Start is a free app for iPhone users that can be used to lock, unlock, start, or find your car with your iPhone or iPod. Unlike the OnStar app, Car Link Remote Start users do not have to purchase a subscription to a service in order to take advantage of the remote operations offered through the app. All you need is a digital car alarm, an iPhone, and an iTunes membership to download the app.

High Tech Thieves can Access Apps through Laptops

The potential problem with the new apps is that they use wireless networks to communicate between the car and the smartphone. Research has already shown that hackers with laptops can cruise neighborhoods to tap into unprotected wireless signals from residences. The same technology can be used to tap into wireless signals from cars that are being controlled through remote apps. Once a hacker taps into the signal, they can control the vehicle the same way you are controlling it with your phone. It is a neat, tidy way to steal a car without having to physically break into it.

Tech Research Firm has Already Hacked Popular Apps

As part of their efforts to protect consumers from digital theft, a research company named iSec has focused a study on the feasibility of hacking into remote car control apps. They found that they could successfully gain access to a vehicle in a little over two hours once they found a signal. The company has produced a video that shows how easy it was for them to crack the system and start a car using a normal laptop. They plan to use their information to help app developers create safer systems and warn consumers of the potential dangers involved in using remote car control apps.

Mobile App Security Not Always Considered First

The rush to create the newest and most popular apps has outpaced the ability for security systems to be put in place to protect consumers from the dangers of transmitting sensitive information through wireless smartphone networks. Mobile networking has been added to hundreds of devices in the past few years without much regard to the potential safety risks. Watchdog groups like iSec are working to close those open doors and help improve security, but they warn that most devices should still be seen as open to hackers now.

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