How Secure Are The Apps That Control Your Car When Sold On?

Thursday, 25. August 2016

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Years ago Ford had a reputation for announcing new models long before they were in a position to launch. As a result pressure was on them to get the car into the marketplace whilst interest was at its highest. Subsequently, anyone who bought the brand new model with lots of new features became Ford’s own testers.

My ex wife became one of them when they brought out a brand new shape Fiesta. It looked great and the Ghia had loads of brand new features. Unfortunately the car spent more time in the local dealers during its first 6 months than in the hands of my ex.

But as newer cars rolled off the production line all of the faults were fixed and eventually my ex ended up with a car without rattles, windows that worked, no oil leaks and a rear window that didn’t drip water onto her shopping every time she operated the rear wash/wipe. Whilst it was irritating there were no health and safety or security issues just minor irritation that got sorted. Scoot forward a few years and you find Apple uses the same principle whenever they have a new iPhone to launch.

Remember the bendy big phone and the phone with the aerial built around the phone that lost the signal if you held it? So it should come as no surprise that when the recent head of steam started to build up around the desirability to have ‘Connected Cars’ that stuff would be released before being fully considered and fully tested. What us cost accountants would refer to as the ‘what if’ considerations. Many manufacturers have rushed to release apps that can be downloaded onto your phone that will remotely connect to your car.

The app will remotely monitor and control the car, locate it and even lock and unlock it. Yes I did just say that. The trouble is that not enough ‘what if’s’ were considered before the products launched leaving the new owner and the car vulnerable when sold. Fleet operator Ogilvie found that they still had access via their apps to a Tesla, BMW i3 and a Nissan Leaf after the cars had been sold although they pointed out that the Nissan could not be stopped or started via the app.

As more manufacturers join Jaguar Land Rover with their inControl, Tesla with MyTesla, Volvo OnCall, Vauxhall’s OnStar and Nissan Connect less attention could be given to security if it meant that the technology could be launched in no time flat. Some manufactures say they will delete the old account once the car is sold and one amazingly said that if they are called by the customer or fleet manager they can disable the App. Really? That sounds pretty secure – not! Tesla said that it is up to the old owner or new owner (or thief) to advise the change of ownership.

To prove the point Fleet News reported one ex Tesla owner able to access his MyTesla account a year after the car was sold. It is only now that leasing companies are discussing the end of lease procedures and a resolution that would see the disabling of apps. As part of the handover process. But what about private owners? Who will instruct those with Connected cars how to protect their privacy and new owners make sure that the previous owner no longer has access to their car. What a mess! By Graham Hill

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Sophisticated Car Theft On The Increase

Wednesday, 29. April 2015

Having been in this industry for years there are few things that have caused me serious concern but the rapid growth in sophisticated car theft over the last few months is one of them. One leasing company won’t allow you to lease a Land Rover car without having a tracker fitted which can add quite a bit to the monthly rental.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Thieves are even targeting vans now, not only for the money they can make on the van but also the goods or tools that are being carried around in the back. The latest high tech thefts are perpetrated by gangs using gadgets that reprogram the electronics controlling keyless entry and start systems.

There has been a lot of publicity around these thefts but few people know that the surge in thefts has come about as a result of a change in European legislation which countered anti-competitiveness by making it easier to obtain replacement keys and the ability to program them. Vehicles on the thieves radar are high end Audis, BMW’s Range Rovers and Ford Transit Vans.

Within hours of being stolen cars and vans are being exported in containers, either whole or in parts, abroad as far away as Africa. Manufacturers have been advised to look into this problem as a matter of urgency. Changes to the electronics have been called for as well as improved marking methods to identify stolen parts.

The warning came after BMW said that it had fixed a security flaw that allowed hackers to unlock the doors of up to 2.2 million Rolls-Royce, Mini and BMW vehicles. As a result the police have stepped up their anti theft operations. They launched Operation Endeavour which was a campaign against keyless car theft. Scotland Yard reported that they had made 84 arrests and an 800 strong team of officers from the Met, Kent, Essex, Hampshire, Surrey and Thames Valley seized 222 vehicles after monitoring 20 arterial roads.

In another operation a search at Felixstowe docks found 5 Range Rovers believed to have been stolen from Surrey, South Woodford and Islington in containers bound for Kenya. Hundreds of parts from a dozen BMW cars, stolen in East London, were headed for Cyprus. In order to hide the stolen parts they were stashed within a pile of motorbike parts.

The police believed that the car parts were to be forward shipped. The police and manufacturers are working on the problem but in the meantime the police are suggesting that drivers revert to 80’s technology by fixing highly visible steering and brake locks which may be enough to deter a crook from breaking in. From my point of view the law needs to be changed.

We allow people to sell the gadgets and others to buy freely online. The law only says that you must not use the equipment for illegal purposes. It should be illegal to sell or buy this equipment unless you are properly authorised to do so. Not to do this is ridiculous. By Graham Hill

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Does Your Car Have The Right Number Plate?

Monday, 12. January 2015

Having a blog means that I get to hear some very dopey stories. The latest was a car that was delivered by transporter to a customer. As excited as he was about driving his new car something wasn’t right.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

He couldn’t put his finger on it but each time he walked towards the car a bell was ringing in his head but what was it? He walked all around the car trying to find a dent or something obviously wrong but could find nothing. After two days of driving the car he realised what it was, there was something wrong with the registration number.

He checked his agreement and realised that the car had been issued with a different number to his agreement. As it turned out there were two identical cars on the transporter, delivered on the same day to two different customers. Whether the dealer had issued the paperwork incorrectly or the delivery driver dropped the cars off to the wrong owners I couldn’t get to the bottom of, but as both cars were insured by the drivers on the other’s registration neither were insured to drive the car they were driving.

The fact is that they may never have known until the cars were returned or sold – how crazy is that? The other driver didn’t have a clue but apparently went loopy when he was told! And I don’t blame him!

The two drivers had their cars swapped and received a free first service. So when you have your car delivered check that the registration number agrees with your documents. By Graham Hill

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Dangers Of Fake Philips Xenon Bulbs Exposed

Wednesday, 24. September 2014

Philips have issued a warning about counterfeit Xenon bulbs being sold as Philips originals but are actually ripoffs sold in what looks like Philips original packaging.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

They are dangerous, poor quality counterfeits that could end up blinding oncoming vehicles, provide poor road illumination and do not have precision mounts that can lead to the electrics burning out. The lamps are not homologated which means they wouldn’t pass a vehicle inspection.

They could even damage the car’s onboard computer system which could cost a fortune to repair or replace. Philips have warned sellers, both online and offline such as spares shops and garages that they will be subject to litigation if caught but have asked for the help of buyers. If you buy a Philips bulb you can check online to see if it is original and report it if it’s a fake.

If you want to check online go to www.philips.com/original If you fit a fake bulb that could be considered responsible for causing an accident you could find yourself in court, as could the supplier. Don’t take the risk. By Graham Hill

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Latest Car Scam – But With A Twist by Graham Hill

Tuesday, 6. May 2014

Here is an interesting scam that is apparently on the rise. Crooks are buying cars from dealers, often using stolen credit cards, then selling the car privately to an unsuspecting buyer. When the dealer realises that the payment has bounced the car is listed on the Police National Computer (PNC) and the police alerted that the car has been stolen.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Following this, and often with the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (APNR) Cameras the police apprehend the innocent driver and confiscate the car. But there is a question mark over the legality of this confiscation. If a crook stole a car from say a car park and sold it to a third party title doesn’t pass and the owner has every right to recover the vehicle.

However, if a car is sold by someone who has HP on the car and the buyer wasn’t aware of the HP at the time of purchase then he is regarded as an ‘Innocent Buyer’ and title passes but what happens if the car is bought with a credit card and therefore subject to finance does title pass?

The question for the police to answer is, ‘Has the car been obtained by fraudulent means or by theft?’ Theft is clear cut – title does not pass but where the transaction is fraudulent then title can pass to the innocent buyer. The problem for the buyer is that it can be hard to trace whether the car was stolen or not.

You may be able to locate the last owner but he may have sold the car privately, to a dealer or through auction and it could have passed through several hands before ending up on a dealer’s forecourt from whom the car was either fraudulently purchased or stolen.

As always you should  check with HPI to see if the car has been written off or on finance when buying privately, also if the person selling you the car isn’t the person to whom the car is registered check the previous owner and find out who bought the car from him and check that title has passed. Better still lease a new car from me – so much easier and trustworthy. By Graham Hill

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Graham Hill Calls For Number Plates To Be Removed From Adverts

Saturday, 21. May 2011

Following on from my campaign to remove number plates from used car adverts online, something considered unnecessary by so called experts, the police reported that £500,000 of fuel was stolen from forecourts in the London area last year by cars fitted with false number plates. Maybe time for a re-think! Have you had your car number plate cloned and received a call from the old bill or a fine that isn’t yours? Let us know? By Graham Hill

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Auto Number Plate Recognition (APNR) Being Abused

Monday, 2. May 2011

Merseyside Police ANPR Car parked on double ye...

Image via Wikipedia

In a report prepared by Auto Express they have revealed that motorists should be aware of the ways that automatic number plate recognition (APNR) is now being used. We have become obsessed with cameras watching our every move, whatever we’re doing from driving to walking down the street, buying a bar of chocolate or catching a train. But Read more

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Advertising Your Used Car Safely

Wednesday, 20. April 2011

I’m actually in a state of shock – ish! Whilst thumbing through the advice pages of Autoexpress I noticed that someone had asked the question, should you blur out the car’s registration number when advertising your car online? Now this is something I’ve had an issue with for sometime. It seems quite obvious that you should blur out the number to me Read more

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Latest Internet Email Scam

Monday, 28. February 2011

There is another web scam going about as revealed by the DVLA. The email which includes a few spelling mistakes (bit of a giveaway) asks the recipient to click on a Department for Transport web address and fill in some details. It goes on to warn that if you fail to do so it will cause you to lose your drivers licence and you will have to re-take your test. The URL (web address) isn’t obviously a DVLA address but the template used for the site looks genuine and includes links to agency pages in the Read more

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Easy Theft Of Number Plates Leads To Cheap Fuel!

Wednesday, 13. October 2010

Years ago car number plates were screwed to the body work by two or even four screws making it a bugger of a job to remove a plate but these days even prestigious cars have their number plates fixed on with a couple of strips of double sided tape. It was hardly surprising then to see a warning from the Retail Motor Industry Federation about theft of number plates. Thefts have doubled over the last 3 years with the Read more

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