In the age of big data breaches, you are probably keeping your personal data secure, right? Well there may be one area that you may have overlooked, your vehicle! If your phone is linked to your vehicle, your personal data is in its on-board computer.

Your vehicle is now a hub of all the data from your paired devices and it’s all stored on the hard drive of your on-board computer. If someone physically got a hold of that unit, they could extract the data from it. Recently, Country Truck & Auto took in a vehicle on trade and found that the former owner had left all his contact information from his phone in the computer of the vehicle. Beyond your contacts, your vehicle may be recording a lot more than you realize! It can record your contacts, your location history, your text messages, and web browsing history.

How can you protect your data?

Here are three steps that will ensure that the next owner of your vehicle does not get your sensitive information.

  1. Delete your data! Consult your owner’s manual to see how to do this. Don’t have the manual? Most automakers have them online now.
  2. Check your permissions. Ensure the settings on your infotainment system only allows access to your phone’s music and videos.
  3. Don’t plug your phone in the USB port to charge! If you don’t need to link your phone, don’t plug it into the built-in USB port to charge. Often, your vehicle will automatically pull the data off your phone if you do this. Instead, use a cigarette adapter to charge your phone.