With more new cars being equipped with on board computer systems that are connected to the Internet, an increasing number of them are being stolen by tech-savvy crooks.

Driving a Car
JaysonPhotography, ThinkStock

It seems car hackers are weaseling into these systems, then taking over different components of the vehicle.

"Cars nowadays are very much connected to the Internet which sort of leaves them open to people being able to walk by and gain control of your car," said Nick Paras, president and founder of Alpha Computing Solutions, an information technology firm.

Paras said having the Internet connection in the car, which is intended to provide information and roadside assistance, makes it easier for cybercriminals to hack the vehicle's computer system and steal it. He said this could result in hackers gaining control of such vehicle functions like the brakes, door locks and the ignition system.

"Once one system in the car is breached, and it's typically the entertainment system, if they've figured out how to do that they can kind of tunnel over to other parts of the car as well," Paras said.

Most car hackers are interested in stealing a vehicle, but there are also other concerns.

"The worst scenario would be to do some sort of bodily harm to somebody," Paras said.

He pointed out the cars most susceptible to being hacked are the newest models from 2014 and 2015.

So what's being done to prevent this?

Paras said car manufacturers are aware of this and trying to deal with it.

"They're putting out these updates to the software that runs your car and they're trying to combat this problem the best they can." Paras said. "The best thing to do is contact your manufacturer and find out if they've put out any sort of patches or anything like that, any updates to the software that will help combat this."

He added when home computers and laptops first began getting on the Internet there was a big spike in vulnerability.

"The car companies are realizing 'yeah we need to put systems in place to make sure that the cars are protected, so they don't get taken over,'" Paras said.

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