Direct in-vehicle access to data basically means that any third-party service provider can have direct and uncontrolled access to the data inside a (moving) motor vehicle. So, what are the risks involved?

What are the risks of allowing direct access to car data?

Providing direct access to in-vehicle data to third parties poses serious security and safety risks to the vehicle, you as a driver, your fellow passengers and other road users:

Hacker attacks

Direct third-party access to vehicle functions can facilitate hacker attacks, since every new external data interface increases the number of potential targets and entry points. Even uncontrolled third-party access to vehicle functions or data that are not directly security-relevant can lead to risks through networking. This could enable car theft or the remote unlocking of a door, for example, as well as creating opportunities for fraud or the theft of your personal data.

Endangering safety-critical functions

Similarly, safety-critical functions such as braking can be affected negatively by the use of in-vehicle resources and computing capacity for unapproved third-party applications. Your car doesn’t have nearly as much processing power as a computer. It couldn’t possibly handle the volume of data requested, or the frequency with which it could be requested, if dozens of service providers would be granted direct and uncontrolled access.

Driver distraction

Additional safety risks in terms of driver distraction can arise if external third parties have uncontrolled access to your vehicle’s on-board systems, user interfaces and function displays. This could happen, for example, through apps or additional control units that would draw your attention away from the road.

Software malfunction

Giving direct and uncontrolled access to the data inside your car, van, truck or bus might also lead to unintended consequences from the installation of additional software. This includes the potential for serious malfunction or even a crash of the system. Something that may not be too worrying in, say, your smartphone, but can represent a serious risk in a moving vehicle.

Comparison: SmartPhone VERSUS Connected Car

A car is not a smartphone on wheels. Nor is it a PC that can be rebooted if a problem occurs while driving. Your vehicle requires much higher standards in safety, security and privacy.

A car is a means of transport, the primary function of which is to bring people or goods safely from one place to another. It requires much higher standards in safety, security and privacy compared with smartphones or other consumer devices. It is not a PC that can be rebooted if a problem occurs while driving.

Motor vehicles contain highly complex, technically-sensitive systems that must meet high technical and legal standards. These systems are developed and monitored by the vehicle manufacturer in strict compliance with road safety regulations, product safety and quality standards – in some cases, far beyond what is legally required.

Moreover, a motor vehicle also has a lifetime of at least 8 to 10 years, while the average smart phone has a lifespan of 2 to 3 years and is often seen as a disposable device. The hardware of a car needs to be resilient and stable. Ultimately, vehicle manufacturers are responsible for the safety and security of the vehicles they put on the market.

What is the safest and most secure way to share car data?

How do vehicle makers protect my personal data and privacy?

Can I decide which personal data I want to share?