Modern automobiles are essentially computers on wheels, and many of them have internet access. Taking advantage of this internet age, automakers are now creating apps to remotely control vehicles in the most convenient ways.
These apps can unlock and lock the doors, check the car’s location, switch on the air conditioning or heating in advance, and other things.
The caveat is that one app cannot contain all the features because various users have very unique demands. There are, therefore, third-party apps or software for each taste and budget in addition to the default software from the automakers. So, yes, it is practical. Yet, is it secure? To secure your details while using these third-party apps, install an IOS VPN or an Android VPN, whichever applies to your device OS.
Third-party Automobile Apps: Advantages
Remote door lock/unlock, climate control, engine start/stop, and other vehicle control functions are all made possible by connected third-party automotive applications.
Even though most automakers have reputable applications for their vehicles, third-party apps created by mobile app developers are popular with users because they offer distinctive features that the automaker has not yet introduced.
The majority of the major automakers are covered by third-party applications, with Nissan, Tesla, Renault, Volkswagen, and Ford, ranking among the top five vehicles that these apps are most frequently used.
On the part of the company executives, these apps are also helpful in promoting innovation and digital literacy. Moreover, these third-party apps allow companies to be virtually available to all prospective customers. Thus, giving businesses an advantage over rivals in a cutthroat market.
Tablets, like the iPad, provide a way for auto dealers to communicate with their customers. Additionally, these devices support useful business analysis tools to understand current demands. Through these third-party automobile apps, car manufacturers can understand what needs to be improved to satisfy their customers and gain their trust. The management can sort and analyze customer behavior and usage of these “car app instructions” to better serve them.
Finally, to assist them in making marketing decisions, automakers can evaluate and engage with the data on their iPads based on the data from these third-party apps. Executives who are constantly on the move and require instant solutions need automobile apps for more informed decisions.
Third-party Automobile Apps: Disadvantages
A win-win situation for both end-users and executives, these third-party apps are not entirely a sweet treat. Even though there are many advantages to living in a hyper-connected world, there are also risks to be aware of.
A new report claimed that third-party smartphone, tablet, and iPad apps for connected cars developed by leading automobile brands like Tesla, Renault, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Ford misuse car owners’ credentials without their permission.
Sadly, not all developers are taking a committed approach regarding information storage and gathering. This apathetic attitude results in users disclosing their personal information without their consent. As a result, cybercriminals may access your accounts and steal your data along with your personal information.
Sadly, over half of the third-party app developers fail to mention the dangers of sharing the account. Those who do alert users promise either not to keep the credentials on file at all or to store them in an encrypted format. In addition, some of them emphasize the fact that an authorization token can only be obtained by using the username and password.
However, a token, like your login credentials, enables anybody else to use the account. Thus, it might be compromised if stored incorrectly. Furthermore, there is no way to verify how user credentials are genuinely used; you can only rely on the developers’ claims.
Another issue is that there are also intermediaries connecting the automaker’s systems to external applications. They could be a feature that users are completely unaware of, and these are utilized by companies that create web services and apps for cars. It’s crucial to realize that the creators of both third-party and added apps will obtain your credentials if the third-party automotive app you select utilizes an intermediary service.
Additionally, the contact information on the websites of 15% of the app developers our researchers looked into was either missing or directed to defunct social media pages, making it difficult to get in touch with them in case of issues.
Should I Therefore Stop Utilizing Third-party Apps?
NO. Third-party apps are essential everyday tools that need not be eliminated from your iPads or smartphones. However, we are here to remind users to exercise diligence and caution when installing these automobile apps. Therefore, pick an app from a reputable developer who, at the very least, doesn’t withhold their contact information and adheres to the principle of transparency.
Plus, don’t lose trust. Not all developers care little about protecting user data. But, as we saw, TeslaMate’s developers fixed the problem regarding these third-party apps after receiving incident reports reasonably quickly.
Lastly, some apps don’t need full, detailed access to your account. So, you don’t have to worry.
How to Take Back Control
The best way to regain control and prevent unauthorized users from accessing your credentials is by using a VPN that conceals your IP address.
What is revealed by your IP address about you? If you don’t try to hide your IP address through a VPN, you’re probably disclosing more information about your identity, where you are, and what you’re doing online, giving other people the power to control how you interact with the world online.
IP addresses and physical locations are frequently closely related. Therefore, anyone aware of your IP address could make a very accurate location prediction for you right now.
Users should be extremely cautious about this scenario because anyone accessing your IP address could determine your location. This disclosure is dangerous for you as well as for your family.
You can regain control with ExpressVPN by changing your IP address to a private VPN IP address in over 94 server locations worldwide.