1 in 3 automotive cyber incidents result in car theft or break-ins

A steady trend toward connected, autonomous, shared, and electric vehicles have effectively transformed automobiles into mobile computing platforms on wheels, allowing for a better consumer and ownership experience.

However, because of these advances, many new cyberattack vectors have appeared. All of these technologies, including keyless entry, remote start, remote shut down, and mobile applications for cars, can be used as intrusion points.

So, in reality, how concerning are automotive-related cyber incidents? We can find the answer in the recently published data by Upstream Security Ltd. The team analyzed over 900 automotive cyber-incidents from 2010 until the end of 2021, revealing that the most common result of auto cyber-attacks is a data or a privacy breach.

According to the findings, nearly 40% of incidents in the past twelve years caused victims’ identities to be exposed in one way or another.

Perhaps more concerning is the second-most common result of an automotive cyber incident: nearly a third (27.9%) of them result in car theft or a break-in.

Third on the list, with 24.2%, is the control of car systems. Meaning nearly a fourth of intrusions enabled hackers to control the majority if not all functions within the vehicle.

Most common attack vectors

We know the most common results of automotive-related cyber incidents, but it is also worth understanding the road cybercriminals take to carry out these attacks.

Over 40% of cyber attacks were carried out by hacking into the servers. While it might not seem like a big deal at first glance, hacking into OEMs’ servers is significant.

Most OEMs’ servers are in charge of command and control services. This means they can operate vehicle operations remotely by sending commands like “lock” and “unlock” to a car’s doors, start the engine, and more.

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