Car viruses? Intel aims to protect drivers from hackers

By Rick
Aug 21, 2012
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  1. As high-technology continues to creep into horseless carriages everywhere, there's one thing we can all count on: abuse of that technology. According to Reuters, Intel's "top hackers" are on the case though, poring over the software which powers the fanciest……

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  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Was talking to a mechanic about this just last year. Had to get a new transmission put in the family car because a sensor went bad & the computer arbitrarily decided to throw the transmission into reverse while I was driving down the expressway. With the amount of computer controlled systems in new & upcoming autos (esp. with German cars), it's only a matter of time before bugs & malicious code start wreaking their havoc on commuters.
  3. This is why computers need to stay out of cars aside from navigation and stereo systems.

    Regardless though I doubt it would be easy to hack a car since its not connected to any networks, they shouldn't let computers control critical aspects of vehicles like brakes anyway what if they malfunction?
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Most aren't, but that's slowly changing. A lot of luxury brands offer in-car hotspots and remote access features (such as locking/unlocking & starting your car from your phone or computer) as options in their sedans & SUVs. Only a matter of time before it becomes a standard feature in that segment and an option in economy cars. And, really, you don't even need that. Just slip a bug into the computer at the shop & you could infect any car they run a diagnostic on.

    As for potential malfunctions... There aren't enough (yet) to cause them to rethink computerizing these vehicles. Stuff like drive select, pre-safe breaking, and adaptive cruise control sell well at the moment. Until major problems start popping up with those systems & it generates bad PR, they're just going to keep layering on the tech.
  5. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +170

    I'm a lot more worried about this: [link]
    Criminals only hack things when there's financial gain, I doubt people are twisted enough to crash cars into each other and kill people just for the fun of it. It's not like you keep your credit card info stored on the car computer although I can imagine a situation where a spammer redirects a person's satnav to his store or something.
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    I don't think they'd go as far as trying to kill people, but I doubt hacktivist groups and other like-minded individuals would have many qualms with inconveniencing people they don't approve of. Altering a few lines of code in the computer can easily render most newer vehicles inoperable (disabling the electronic column shifter in a CL, for instance).

    But, like you mentioned, theft is the bigger issue. Certainly a lot more money to be made thieving expensive cars than messing with their owners. ...Unless you're the dealer, that is :p
  7. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    Seriously? Ever heard of a crime of passion? Of revenge? How about car bombs? Imagine if you could just stick a little bluetooth-laden package under any vehicle and set it off later via the car's built in radio.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    They've been able to do that since the early 1900s...
  9. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    Wasn't some car company thinking of making OTA firmware updates to the cars computer standard on their cars? I am sure if that is possible hacking the car to upload your own firmware would be possible as well.
  10. now, it's time for car owner installing antivirus software to their cars :D
  11. ..also firewall
  12. Zoltan Head

    Zoltan Head TS Booster Posts: 247   +27

    Wow, this is scary, introducing vulnerabilities into the control systems - what if the military or NASA did the unthinkable and used computer systems to control aircraft, spacecraft or missiles, the consequences could be horrific! ;)
  13. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Mbrace2 by Mercedes-Benz [link]. I believe Ford also has something similar, sans a few bells and whistles that MB includes in their package.

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