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Tesla Hacking Report is a good reminder of the risk of stored data

Photo: Sean Gallup (Getty Images)

It can be easy to forget how much personal information we share with the various technologies that are aimed at streamlining our lives, whether they are voice assistants, smart home devices or the phones we carry us almost everywhere. And if you own a car, it can also go on your trip.

According to a report from CNBC packages especially Teslas around a number of unencrypted data that can be tapped with the proper knowledge of how to access it, especially when one of the cars is resold or total. CNBC spoke with two white hat hackers identified as Theo and GreenTheOnly who bought a broken Model 3 last year and were able to demonstrate the extent to which personal data can be retrieved from the car.

CNBC said the researchers were able to draw not only information identifying the Boston-based construction project that owned the car, which was allegedly used by people working in the company, but also data related to "at least 1

7 different units. " The researchers also drew videos of two of the Model 3 accidents – including the one that constituted the car – as well as the information on the passengers and drivers who had paired the phones with it.

As CNBC noted, such data is available to those who know how to find it raises questions about the company's policies to protect user data. Achieved for comment, a spokesperson for the company gave the same comment to Gizmodo as it did to CNBC, pointing to what was described as options for maintaining privacy. These include "a reset option to delete personal data and restore custom settings to factory defaults and an operating mode to hide personal data (among other features) when giving the keys to a cop."

The spokesman added that the company is "always committed to finding and improving the right balance between technical vehicle needs and the privacy of our customers."

To be clear, not only Teslas packs around this kind of sensitive data, even though Tesla collects and stores more than most. And it's definitely not just total or reclaimed cars either, as stated in a 2017 Privacy Report from International. The British-based human rights and privacy-focused charity found that after mapping a number of popular rental companies, the onus largely fell on individual riders to ensure that they deleted their data from a rental car to ensure it was not stored.

However, the Federal Trade Commission has warned as late as August that consumers should consider what data they are leaving before selling or donating their vehicles. FTC Consumer Education Specialist Colleen Tressler wrote in a blog post last year that wiping a vehicle of personal information goes beyond just a factory reset, and it's important to ensure you disconnect services and features as well.

At least, CNBC's report is a good reminder to be aware of how and where we share our information, and that even linking your phone to entertainment can cause some dangers.


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