Autos

Number plate changes: Drivers at risk of data theft and burglary – how to avoid

The new changes were introduced on Wednesday and have laid out new standards for number plates. The new plates, BS145e, will be replacing the current version still in circulation, the BS145d.

Almost all car manufacturers have struggled with global chip shortages, as well as continuing restrictions, with the UK suffering from the effects of the ‘pingdemic’.

Mantas Sasnauskas, cyber security expert at CyberNews is warning drivers to protect themselves around this new threat.

He said: “Modern cars are essentially computers on wheels and store a whole host of personal data – from your home address to the addresses of your friends and family, and even a connection through to your smartphone.

“We’d never dream of selling a phone or laptop without wiping the data first, yet millions of us sell our cars without a second thought. 

“If a bad actor gets hold of this information, they can not only use your name and address for identity theft, but if your smartphone is linked to your car then can they use this as a gateway to access your home WiFi network and passwords.

“Then the possibilities are endless; from hacking into your smart home devices to accessing your bank accounts online.

“If they get into the GPS system in the car, they can even spot your pattern of travel behaviour, such as when you are likely to be out of the house, making you an easier target for burglars.”

There are a number of things car owners can do to protect themselves including checking the car’s user manual.

There motorists will be able to see how to erase the data on the vehicle’s computer, which is seen as the safest way to keep the data safe.

Mr Sasnauskas continued the advice, saying: “This doesn’t just apply to sellers.

“If you buy a second-hand car and the previous owner’s phone is still linked to the car, they would still be able to access all the features and locations.

“When you get the keys to your new vehicle, make sure the first thing you do is fully erase the data.”

“If you’re concerned that your data could have been hacked from an old car, I’d advise changing all your passwords to online accounts, including your WiFi router.

“Make sure you don’t reuse passwords and use passwords that are unique.”


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