Cars Are Part of the Internet of Things
Almost everything we use today is connected to some form of wifi. These devices are known as IoT or Internet of Things. It’s comprised of lightbulbs, thermostats, smart speakers, coffee pots and even your car. Every day, these devices are collecting tons of data on you and storing this information in some way or another. It might be on an associated app, it might be stored on a company’s servers, or, it might be stored on your automobile’s infotainment system.
Your car might be one of the most personal devices you own, yet, when you sell it, there is a chance the dealer does not clear out the information the vehicle has collected on you. This is not only when you trade in a car, but also when you use a rental car that has an onboard infotainment system. When you connect your phone or another device to the car either wirelessly or with a USB, you are transferring loads of information you never planned to share.
Why Infotainment Systems Are Helpful
Infotainment systems can actually provide a lot of information for a digital forensic investigator. For example, an investigator can use the data to assist with insurance claims, accident claims and more. All of this information can be very useful for these types of cases, but not useful when all you want to do is sell your car and buy a new one.
When preparing your car for selling, the obvious preparations are to clean the exterior and have the interior detailed. But that small screen by your dash contains much more that needs to be wiped before a new owner takes over. These systems can contain financial information, maps of locations you frequent most, your contact list, mobile apps that store your information, codes to enter your house and more. All of these things pose serious risks to your personal security.
Four Things To Always Delete From Infotainment Systems
1. Delete Contacts, Text Messages, and Voicemails From Your Car
Do you have important voicemails and texts stored on your car that detail a medical condition, business information, or information about your family? Or, do you have contacts of friends, family, or your co-workers? All of this information needs to be deleted before you even drive your car to the dealership for appraisal. It’s possible that this information can leak for a malicious new owner to conduct identity theft. However, it’s also good to delete these just to ensure you keep your privacy.
2. Delete the Saved Locations on Your GPS
GPS systems make getting anywhere much easier than the old paper maps we used to print out. However, your car might be storing this information on its infotainment system. If you do not want the next owner to know where you live, work, or spend free time then it’s probably a good idea to wipe any of this saved data.
3. Delete Your Profile and Phone ID From Your Infotainment System
Fortunately, due to the lack of storage, most of the information is stored on flash memory. This means that once you disconnect your phone, and reconnect later, the information is gone. However, due to the Bluetooth connection, it actually creates embedded flash memory. So, even if you delete your phone it will delete the map to your data but the data isn’t actually gone. If someone really wanted to get to it, they could.
This is important to remember when you are in a rental car. If you are in a rental car with an infotainment system, always erase your phone from the system. While it might still be there, in the long run, it will make it very difficult for anyone to access it.
4. Delete Different Apps Loaded Into Your Car
While most of these apps are likely stored within your phone rather than your car there is still the chance that you have downloaded apps on your infotainment system. Deleting and scrubbing these apps from your car will save you the trouble of giving away too much personal information. If you are using a rental car, it is best to not store or download any apps into it.
As the world moves to make everything a connected device, the cyber threats also grow in how people can access your data and information. Fortunately, Secure Forensics can help in case of a data breach, leaks, or another digital forensic nightmare. For a free phone consultation contact us today at 1-800-288-1407.