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Smart Phones & Vehicle Systems

posted May 23, 2014, 1:17 AM by David Schippers   [ updated May 23, 2014, 1:20 AM ]
This week CEIC has provided a lot of in depth information.  I had the privilege of sitting in a session on infotainment and telematic systems in cars.  Ben LeMere from Berle provided some pretty impressive information on vehicle systems.  Most people are familiar with OnStar and other systems available in cars now.  Ford and GM have pushed forward with their infotainment and telematic systems for their vehicles.  With the functionality built into the vehicle systems to interact with smart phones, there is a particular interaction that users must be aware of.  

When you connect your smart phone to vehicle systems, LeMere indicated their work discovered that the vehicle system copied SMS, contacts and call logs to the vehicle system.  Many of you may be aware of this if you connect via Bluetooth.  However, be aware LeMere's research indicated that connecting your smart phone via USB for charging purposes also pulls data into the vehicle system.  This leaves key data in the vehicle system for discovery later.  

Many of you may be thinking this is not a particularly big issue.  If you are only using your car, that may be the case.  This is particularly important when using rental cars.  LeMere indicated that their research from examining vehicle systems from rental cars would provide smart phone information for many users who connected to charge or use the vehicle system integration with the rental car.

For law enforcement and private investigators, this can potentially provide a treasure trove of information for an investigation, especially if a phone is unavailable, locked or destroyed.  

TIP - If you are concerned about the privacy of your data, you may want to reconsider plugging in your smart phone to charge in that rental car.