6 Questions to Ask While Buying a Connected Car

Here are six questions to keep in mind when you walk into the showroom to buy a networked car.
1. How does the manufacturer protect the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system?
2. How does the car manufacturer handle security updates?
3. Is there a browser in the vehicle?
4. What can I do remotely?
5. What happens to my data in the cloud?
6. Does the manufacturer have a plan for protecting On-Board Diagnostics-II (OBD-II) systems?

Car manufacturers are quickly moving to a time when autos will be mostly, if not fully, autonomous. Meanwhile, new cars are packed with Bluetooth, cellular gateways, and Wi-Fi connectivity — which means they are open to security vulnerabilities.

In putting together this story, we talked to several experts who follow developments regarding the connected car, and just about all of them say there's still a lot in flux.

"There not a salesperson in a showroom anywhere who could answer even basic security questions," says Steve Hoffenberg, director of Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded technology at VDC Research. "But that doesn't mean consumers shouldn't be asking questions about security."

"People need to ask the car companies where they stand on security," says Kayne McGladrey, director of security and IT at Pensar Development and an IEEE member, who cites companies such as Apple and Google, which have made strong public statements on these matters.

When asked if the car companies have followed suit, McGladrey says, "Not really."

So, what are consumers to do? Security pros may know more about what to ask for, but there are thousands, even millions, of consumers who simply don't know where to start. Read these six tips to get an idea of what you should be thinking about when you step into that showroom and the salespeople start selling you on a connected car.

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