Computer Viruses Could Affect Your Car, Says IBM
Date Posted 02-11-2005
Summary: Your car could be at risk from hackers, according to IBM. Increasing software content could make your car more vulnerable to viruses — and spam — in the future.
Full story: Computer viruses and spam could spread to a far wider range of devices, including your car engine, according to a new survey published by computer giant IBM.
The report, published by IBM Security Intelligence Services, a consulting arm of the world's largest computer company, paints a picture of rampant, albeit controllable, security dangers.
Viruses could spread to the embedded computers that are increasingly used to run basic automobile functions, said the report, titled "Security Threats and Attack Trends." Mobile phones, hand-held computers and wireless networks are also at risk, the survey warned.
Stuart McIrvine, director of IBM's security strategy, said cars were threatened by computer security threats, some malicious, others unintentional. As the average new car runs 20 computer processors and about 60 megabytes of software code, the opportunity for malfunctions, wireless attacks and other security threats was multiplying, he said.
However, he said anti-virus and anti-spam technology was keeping pace with the threats. "The threats are increasing, but consumers and businesses are getting a lot smarter."
What this means to you: A virus that makes your desktop computer crash is one thing; one that shuts down your engine on the freeway is another. Take heed, carmakers: We need hacker-proof systems in our new cars.