Car Apps Are a Big Concern, Allow Controlling the Car Even After Selling It

Car apps are a big concern, allow controlling the car even after selling it 6 photos
Photo: Ford
Carmakers suck at making mobile appsCarmakers suck at making mobile appsCarmakers suck at making mobile appsCarmakers suck at making mobile appsCarmakers suck at making mobile apps
We all want the latest technologies into our cars, and the carmakers have tried to satisfy everybody. We can now enjoy remote control via phone apps to check on our car’s fuel level, location, and more while sitting inside our houses. This symbiosis between cars and mobile phones has become the norm in the auto industry.
Owning a modern vehicle is a great experience, especially as the carmakers have crammed all sorts of goodies inside. This also led to increased integration between mobile phones and the car dashboard. Initially used to make phone calls inside the car via Bluetooth, the mobile phone has become the preferred interface between the car and our minds. But this did not come without problems.

A later development in this car-phone love affair got us car apps, small pieces of software that allow owners to perform all sorts of checks and actions on their vehicles. Car apps can be used to control the lights, the horn, and even the ignition on the associated vehicle. They can also provide information about the car’s location, fuel level, mileage, and other parameters. They are quite useful to be sure, but only as long as you buy a new car and keep it, as a Canadian has found out.

According to Radio Canada, Gilles Veilleux bought a 2017 Cadillac Escalade that came with MyCadillac smartphone connectivity app powered by GM’s OnStar system. He sold the SUV a year ago, but even after that, he discovered that the vehicle was still connected to his profile in the MyCadillac app. By logging in to the app, Veilleux was able to monitor SUV’s location and control some features, a security flaw that should be addressed immediately by the manufacturer.

The seller, as well as the buyer and (in this case) the dealer, should have made sure that the car’s transfer also involves deleting the previous owner’s profile from the system. This is even more important in the case of vehicles that allow access and start using the smartphone app. The association between the vehicle and a certain app is just as important as the physical key fob.

In this particular case, Radio Canada used the MyCadillac app to track down the new owner and inform them of the problem. As you’d expect, they were not too pleased about that. The dealer that facilitated the transfer of the car has declined to comment.
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Editor's note: For illustration purposes we used pictures of various infotainment systems. The main photo shows FordPass App Rewards.

About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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