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Alphabet warns fleets to educate drivers about new types of car crime

Fleet managers need to warn drivers about the sophisticated new ways thieves invent to steal drivers' identity data, personal belongings and vehicles, says Alphabet.

As figures released by the RAC recently reveal a 30% increase in car thefts between 2013 and 2016, Alphabet has published a security and safety guide for drivers.

The five-page guide covers the latest developments in threats faced by drivers around cyber security and privacy, personal safety and vehicle security.

John Chuhan, chief risk officer of Alphabet, said: “Fleet drivers are statistically more likely to be targeted by criminals, who are increasingly trying to exploit technology like keyless entry and remote ignition, as well as ‘connected car’ services, that are widely found in the latest, modern company vehicles.

"But this new ‘tech’ approach to car crime doesn’t mean that the traditional threats to business drivers have gone away either."

Some high-end passenger cars today contain as many as 100 million lines of computer code, which is twice as many as the Large Hadron Collider and eight times more than in the flight systems of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the guide reports.

Chuhan said: “As a business mobility company, we fully appreciate the advantages that organisations gain from these technologies in terms of mobility, connectivity and productivity.

"They make business travel easier and safer for employees and help deliver on employer duty of care responsibility.

"Connected car technologies also open up truly game-changing services for organisations, such as innovative corporate car sharing with AlphaCity and proactive servicing and maintenance via teleservices.

"But there is a downside to this. Although car criminals are usually one step behind the manufacturers, they are often ahead of fleet decision-makers and company car drivers.

"So, we are publishing this new advice guide to help fleets bring company drivers up to date with new risks to their security and that of their vehicle.

"These are practical steps every business driver can take to improve their personal and vehicle security.”

Alphabet’s guide covers three areas of security risk to drivers; outlining how criminals exploit them, suggesting ways in which drivers can protect themselves and offering advice on what to do if they should become a victim:

  • Vehicle security: Understanding the potential vulnerabilities of keyless entry and starting systems. Techniques used by thieves to exploit them, e.g. key fob ‘code sniffers’, relays or signal blockers. There are personal behaviours and physical security measures that drivers can use to minimise the risks.
  • Cybersecurity: Protecting personal data within in-car infotainment and ‘cloud-based’ services such as social media, as well as helping to avoid online scams aimed at motorists such as ‘Impostor’ sites that charge users for services that are free at official sites, e.g. driving licence renewals.
  • Personal safety: Dealing with harassment or road rage incidents. Parking safely and securing valuables.

Chuhan added: “Drivers now need to be more aware of and vigilant against vehicle crime than has been the case in recent years.

"It’s taken criminals more than 20 years to turn the tide of car crime briefly in their favour but if history is any guide, the automotive industry will anticipate and respond successfully to each new attempt by the ‘bad guys’ to exploit new advances in technology.

"In the meantime, we hope the practical information we’ve compiled in our personal security and privacy guide will help fleets and employee drivers protect themselves against both old and new threats.”



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