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Cyber Security Forensics Expert:
Personal data should be purged from car infotainment systems!!

Cars Can Store an Incredible Amount of Data!

Digital Evidence Forensics Expert / Cyber Security Articles

By Scott Greene

When you get rid of a computer or a phone, the general rule is to wipe the hard disk drive or memory so no one else can take your personal data. Organizations that take old computers, Goodwill for instance, will generally not take computers that do not have a clean hard drive.

Car Indash Computer Screen - Automobile Computer Data Experts

Car Computer System / Vehicle Infotainment System

 When you get rid of a computer or a phone, the general rule is to wipe the hard disk drive or memory so no one else can take your personal data. Organizations that take old computers, Goodwill for instance, will generally not take computers that do not have a clean hard drive.

But we tend to forget our car holds personal data in its memory and we tend to forget about it when we sell the vehicle.

Infotainment systems in cars have the ability to download significant amounts of data from your mobile device. Information such as: contacts, call history, calendar items and more may be downloaded and saved in your car’s infotainment system. In addition, other personally identifiable information such as your home address, your office address and more may be stored in the navigation system.

Some professionals may be at greater risk when leaving data behind. If you are a doctor and you have synchronized your phone to your car, you may be violating HIPAA regulations by not clearing out all of the information which may be stored by the car. Also, attorneys must be careful not to leave client confidential information on the car’s hard disk drive. Doing so, may be violating attorney / client confidentiality.

A few years ago an Evidence Solutions employee bought a used car from a dealership. This car had a built-in navigation system and garage door openers. A cursory examination of the navigation system showed the examiner could get the previous owners: full name, home address, phone numbers, birthday, anniversary date, and had access to their garage. While ESI employees have high integrity, if anyone else had gotten this information it could have been a disaster waiting to happen.

When selling your car, remember to get rid of as much personal information from your car’s infotainment system as possible. Clear your programmed garage door openers, go into your navigation system and reset it to default settings which will remove any saved places to prevent potential burglaries. If you are unsure how to do these things do some research online. The internet can provide several car specific articles which detail how you can remove personal data from prying eyes.

Another resource is the car’s dealership, where you can pay a technician to erase the memory of the infotainment system. We recommend you keep a watchful eye on the dealership’s technician doing the job to ensure he or she actually performs the operation.

One simple thing you can do to increase your security is to use a neighbor’s address as your home address. This can prevent someone who steals your car from taking the car to your home by using the navigation system, entering through the garage door and burglarizing your home.
We also recommend that you do no connect your phone to rental cars. The risk is just too high.

Have questions about Infotainment System Forensics or Navigation System Forensics?

Have questions about Computer Security or Computer Forensics?

Contact us!

We are experts in Car Forensics. Call us today for a FREE consultation: 866-795-7166

By Scott Greene

Evidence Solutions, Inc.

Complex Electronic Evidence in PLAIN English.

Call us today with your Car Evidence Questions: 866-795-7166 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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