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How Experts Hope to Shield Cars From Computer Viruses

Published September 16, 2012

A team comprising of top hackers in Intel corp.’s security division embarked on garage searching for electronic bugs that were supposed to make automobiles combat computer viruses. The project is being undertaken by Intel’s well known MacAfee department which has a good reputation for the roles it plays in fighting computer viruses and malware.

In this venture the team is looking for ways to protect cars from Hackers stealing cars or interfering with its functionality. This is an area where many car manufacturers have failed address. In today’s world there has been no physical threat to automobiles using the computer but it is deemed to occur in the future as technology advances and more automobiles are built using small computers and electronic systems for communication.

This project took off after a group of computer scientist form the United States undertook the study in a decommissioned airport in the year 2010 and proved that when cars are moving at high speeds they are prone to virus attacks. It was later demonstrated how Trojans and computer worms could be introduced to automobile systems through infected CD’s, diagnostic systems and wireless networks. Despite the study they did not give the models of cars used or their manufacturers but were quoted as saying the problem affects all the vehicle manufacturers.

Though many automakers around the world declined to comment on if they had recalled any vehicles that had been affected by the security threat it is widely believed that some incidences have happened.

The world’s largest automaker Toyota addressed the issue by saying that they had not come across any case, though it is possible to hack the computer systems installed in cars. While officials from Hyundai motor Co Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co could not respond on the issue immediately. A representative from the Japanese auto manufacturer Honda was quoted as saying that they were undertaking a study on how to safe guard vehicle computer systems but could not comment about the progress made.

When the Department of Homeland Security was contacted, the spokesman declined to give any report on whether hackers had the capability to start attacks on automobiles or if they had been ant reported case similar case. Homeland security is in charge of analyzing technology used transporting and manufacturing industries to check for loopholes and give detailed reports on where attacks are most likely to be aroused.

With the rampart advancement of technology a car can be described as a computer on wheels. Million of small computers manage known as electronic control units the car while on the road. Cell phones and blue tooth also can be used to attack a car through the wireless technology. Plug and play devices connected to the car which in turn connect to the internet can also be another avenue of attack since the car systems are exposed to hackers.

Research has shown that cars can self destruct by shutting down all functional electric systems leading to high number of casualtiesThe research is being lead by Barnaby Jack, a computer genius who managed to figure out ways in which hackers could make ATM to mint money



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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