Dash/cloud connectivity (can it be disconnected?)

The question is for my future information. We have now come to the place where all cars will be connected to the internet, with not only benefits, but some serious drawbacks, ie, like can be hacked, etc. I don’t think my Legacy has that capability, but I may want to trade it at some point, and I DON’T want my vehicle to be accessible to anyone but me. Any informed thoughts?

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Not what I would consider a major worry. Why hack a vehicle when you can hack bank accounts and get money.


I have a 20 year old Subaru Legacy and I consider it a benefit to lack some of the new features. I have installed a blu-tooth stereo system and I use Automatic to monitor the engine, both work great with my iPhone. I don’t reject technology, I’m in IT. But I am very concerned about the security of various innovations. Blu-tooth based tire pressure was built with no consideration for security, making it easy for someone to trick your car into thinking that pressure is low when it isn’t. The data bus standard for cars is very inadequate and insecure (the data bus tends to get shared by driving and entertainment systems event hough they are technically separate).

That said, you can’t avoid this stuff so when I replace my Subaru it will probably be with another one, partly because of the electronics that Subaru makes standard. And the drawbacks are currently present in all cars. I will avoid certain technologies when possible, such as keyless entry.

That is a thought. But what about all the info that will inadvertently be accumulated in the car’s dash? When traded or sold, can that all be wiped out? If not, it would be like someone getting your cell phone with all it’s info. Maybe someone will come up with a method of disconnecting that function.

You are not going to have you financial stuff in there. I really think you should be more concerned about your PC and smart phone then a vehicle.

You have to remember to delete your Bluetooth connections, phone book data, call history and navigation destinations before selling your vehicle.

Phone setting delete

Based on what I have been hearing from automakers in seminars and meetings, I think it will be tricky to do alone, but possible with expert help. Current and future automobiles already use the hidden cell phone in your car to send and receive information. Current Subarus, for example, log your miles and record any trouble codes and will send you a monthly vehicle health report. Any Subaru owner can opt-in for some remote cell-phone actuated vehicle controls, like locking and unlocking, flashing lights (to find a car in a parking lot for example) and more. I’ve done it. I suspect that there are people who understand vehicle telematics systems enough to disable them. I would imagine it may become a small cottage industry at some point. Imagining further, I would expect that folks who know enough about how to hack these systems to your desires would do so for a reasonable fee. Would an automaker honor the warranty if anything even remotely related to your vehicle’s electronics went awry after that? Doubtful, and who could blame them? “Hacking” into a car’s telematics system (meaning gaining access without the driver knowing) is not science fiction. Mercedes did it and located the Boston Marathon bombers’ location after they carjacked an owner’s vehicle and he then escaped. It took Mercedes less than an hour to do it after police made the request. The ability to disable a vehicle is already part of the functions some telematics systems possess.

What kind of information are you worried about it accumulating? If it’s personal stuff like your address book, that can be deleted. Refer to your owner’s manual.

I think everyone is missing my point here. I do not want any vehicle of mine on the internet, but it seems that is the direction that all manufacturers are headed. Personally, I think they should all come with a customer accessible disconnect. Where is our freedom to be free from the internet if we so desire?

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Thank you for a thoughtful reply.

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You just exposed yourself to more harm from the internet by posting here than your vehicle ever would. If your next vehicle has internet access just don’t use it.

You are on the internet to post this, so you have surrendered that freedom already. What specifically are you worried about your vehicle putting on the internet?

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I’m not sure if you can get the dealer to not activate the system but you can cancel the service if you so desire. Free for the 1st year and then $100 a year after that for the more basic package. The cloud based stuff is about $50 more for the first year and in total you would pay about $150 for the second year.

From what i’m reading the cloud based parts of Starlink work off of your smartphone’s data plan, the roadside and emergency assistance work through the equipment installed in the car.

I am not as concerned about my vehicle putting something on the internet as I am that somebody could take control of it and cause a wreck. I know that my chances of that happening are really slim, BUT it has already been proven that it is possible to do.
I don’t own a smartphone, and as cranky as this pc is, it doesn’t hurt me when it crashes.

It won’t happen. Drive on without worrying.

The short answer for you is to disconnect the satellite antenna, that is the sharktooth antenna at the back of the roof. You could disconnect it at the antenna but that would involve dropping the headliner in the back, or disconnect it at the back of the head unit (radio). You will loose your satellite connection.

I believe the bluetooth antenna is also located in the head unit and that would involve removing the head unit, finding the bluetooth antenna and removing it. It might be a small circuit card that has both the bluetooth and wifi circuits on it. Just pull the card and you will never have to worry.

I have not done any of this nor can I verify this information but I suspect that is how it is done. I’m assuming that carmakers use off the shelf parts instead of custom made parts and these would be common parts to find.

The chances of you being in an accident from almost any other source are higher. It’s OK to have irrational fears, we all do. How you respond to them is more important than having them.

Technically that won’t stop all hack capability. Supposedly hackers managed to hack the brake system on a car and bring it to a stop - of course they needed a chase vehicle full of equipment to do it. It won’t happen to OP, but disconnecting the sat antenna wouldn’t stop it.

You should abandon you current vehicle as soon as possible. Common vehicles are taken over by criminals frequently, from my local news it occurs a couple times a week.