Ford Gives Sync Internet Security Upgrade

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With Wi-Fi access coming to Ford’s Sync system for 2011, the automaker is thinking ahead in terms of web security. On-board connectivity brings with it the opportunity for hackers to access the car’s systems and information, just like they might do on a PC.

Ford’s security features include a hardware firewall that controls what information can go between the Sync’s entertainment system and the vehicle’s computer. The firewall prevents external parties from accessing the car’s computer.

The entertainment computer itself does not allow the download or execution of external applications, which could include dangerous software. Any upgrades to the Sync system will not come over the Internet directly. Instead, drivers will need to download an upgrade from a home computer and transfer it to a thumb drive that’s plugged into the car’s USB port. The computer won’t even run software that doesn’t come from Ford.

Data such as contact lists and address books from smartphones will also be protected. This includes a “valet mode” that lets drivers use a four-digit PIN to protect stored information from those they don’t want to have access.

Ford says it has no real-world instances of internet thieves attempting to hack on-board computers. But as car connectivity proliferates, surely this type of crime will become more tempting.

Ford Adds Security and Other Features to Sync (Gadgetwise)

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