A recent Government Accountability Office report outlined vehicle cybersecurity concerns, outlining that hackers can penetrate the technology of vehicles in both long range and short range attacks, including targeting Bluetooth controls. These car hackings allow the hackers to access steering, brakes, telematics and critical controls of cars.

Just to put the threat in context, it has been reported that National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) publications indicate that a modern luxury vehicle includes up to 100 million lines of software code. This is in contrast to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that has approximately 6.5 million lines of software code. What does that mean? The more lines of code, the more vulnerabilities and openings for hackers to get into.

Hence the recent warning by the FBI to be aware of, and treat your car like you would treat your computer, your laptop and your phone when it comes to data security. Many drivers have no idea the amount of data that a car has and stores. Cars are now connected to the Internet, and drivers are using GPS in their car (like location based services on your smartphone), connecting apps to their cars, streaming music and cars are recording drivers’ driving habits, including speed, braking and erratic movement.

The FBI says that car hacking is a real risk and to treat your car just like you would any other connected device. Limit access to your vehicle to protect it from an unauthorized person infecting your car with malware, be careful about the apps that you use through your car and what information you are providing to them, keep vehicle software that you receive from the manufacturer up to date, and don’t make modifications to the vehicle software.

We don’t think of our cars in the same way as we do our laptop or phone, but they are just a bigger version storing a tremendous amount of personal data. Be aware of the data that your car has and protect it like any other connected device.