19 Sep 2011

Viruses may be able to affect automobiles

For years, the on-board computer has been a powerful instrument in helping modern cars run. Now that many auto companies are considering tying their cars to the internet, it may be time to set up antivirus software in cars, as the threat of viruses could be very real.

Torque News said iSEC Patners, a consultant company which specializes in security, recently demonstrated that someone can open and start a car with a text message sent from a smartphone. The website said that many antivirus computer security companies are worried about this as a real threat.

According to ITWorld, researchers at University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington have spent the past couple of years combing through computer systems in late-model cars looking for security flaws and developing ways to misuse them. A paper they wrote earlier this year said there are a handful of identified ways that hackers could break into a car, including through the car's Bluetooth and cellular network systems.

Another way a car can be hacked is through malicious software in the cars diagnostic tools used in automotive repair shops. The website said the most interesting attack focused on the car stereo, which allowed researchers to turn a song burned onto a CD into a Trojan horse virus. An antivirus program may have to be developed for car computers to help stop these viruses.