KBB.com survey: Owners leery of hacking

By Bob Nagy on July 31, 2015 10:42 AM

A new survey of KBB.com visitors discovered that nearly 80 percent of respondents believe that vehicle hacking will remain a frequent problem over the course of the next one to three years and the majority feel there will never be a permanent solution to this high-tech threat. Of the 1,134 individuals involved in the poll, 72 percent said they were aware of the recent Jeep Cherokee remote hacking incident and 70 percent indicated they thought Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products in general were the most susceptible to hacking, followed by those made by General Motors (47 percent), Ford (30 percent) and Daimler/Mercedes-Benz (18 percent). Conversely, vehicles built by Fuji/Subaru (two percent), Mazda (three percent), Volkswagen (four percent) and Nissan (eight percent) were thought to be least vulnerable to hacking at this time.

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When it comes to securing vehicles from hacking, 81 percent felt that was the direct responsibility of a manufacturer while 11 percent believed it falls to the owner and five percent said it should lie with their wireless provider. Interestingly, 52 percent indicated they'd be willing to pay a monthly fee -- $8 on average -- to ensure their vehicle would be totally secure from any kind of hacking threat. As for assessing the sense of urgency, 47 percent stated they'd go to a dealership "immediately" if advised a security patch was necessary for their vehicle while 31 percent would do it "within a week" and 17 percent "within a month." Some 64 percent of respondents would prefer to have any patch installed by their local dealer while 24 percent preferred to do it wirelessly and 12 percent would like to have a software update mailed to them. 

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"Technology offers a wide range of enhanced convenience for today's new vehicle buyers, but it also offers the increasing potential for unauthorized access and control," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Cyber-security is still a relatively new area of specialization for automakers, but it's one they need to take seriously to ensure they are ahead of the curve. If automotive engineers find themselves playing catch-up in this field, it could have disastrous results for both consumers and the industry."

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