My Car Caught A Virus Driving Down The Highway?
from the check-engine dept
In the past few months there have been a ton of stories about the threat of mobile viruses. This has a bunch of folks running scared, but if you read the details, most of these "viruses" are very much proof-of-concept and are not likely to spread very fast -- if at all. Of course, there certainly is a potential ongoing risk as phones become more like computers (the downside of being "smart"), and virus writers are getting craftier all the time, but for the most part, there isn't that much to be worried about. However, with all the focus on mobile devices, should we also be concerned about other objects with wireless connections? According to this report, one anti-virus company is claiming that a new mobile virus can infect certain Lexus vehicles from a range of 15 feet. Sounds scary, right? But, if you read the details, it's unclear what's going on at all. The article doesn't make it clear if this actually happened or they're just discussing the "potential" for it to happen. They don't even know what was actually infected or if anything was really infected at all. This seems like a situation where a little more research might prove useful. The story apparently originates from the anti-virus firm's own blog, where they claim that someone has asked them how to cure a virus that was transferred from a phone to certain vehicles -- though, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that this has actually occurred. The post asks if anyone knows what operating system these cars use in their onboard system, and apparently it's a custom built OS -- though, a second comment notes that Lexus does appear to have an "integrated phone system" from Nokia, which could be the source of this issue. Still, if that's the case, it sounds like it would just be a problem if an infected phone was used in this system -- and it seems unlikely that it would cause any additional problems for the system, other than causing problems for the phone itself. Still, with just this scant amount of evidence, that one news source made it sound like your car might be vulnerable to viruses passed on from passing cars. That might lead to one heck of a traffic jam. Forget the check engine light, is your anti-virus dashboard light flashing?