Feeds

Car virus myth debunked

Rumour crushed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Rumours that the Bluetooth systems of cars are at risk from infection from mobile phone viruses have been debunked.

Anti-virus firm F-Secure tested a Toyota Prius and failed, despite exhaustive attempts, to infect the car's systems with variants of the infamous Cabir worm, the most wide-spreading piece of mobile code malware to date.

F-Secure's experiment confirms Toyota's rebuttal of rumours that on-board computers of its Lexus cars were susceptible to infection by viruses that spread using Bluetooth, such as Cabir.

Toyota said its Lexus (and Prius) cars do not use Symbian OS, and therefore can't be infected by Cabir. F-Secure's tests confirmed this. They also showed that on-board systems ignored the Bluetooth traffic generated by an infected mobile phone. Even attempts to transfer Cabir-infected SIS files to the car manually using a special file transfer program failed.

An F-Secure researcher also tried other Bluetooth attacks against the car on got the shock of his life when car systems locked up displaying the following error message: "The transmission lock mechanism is abnormal. Park your car on a flat surface, and fully apply the hand brake". Blimey.

Restarting the car cleared the problem but the same test repeatedly crashed car computer systems. The behaviour raised serious concerns. But after double checking systems F-Secure realised low-battery voltage - rather than Bluetooth attacks - were responsible for the car's systems going haywire.

"After fixing the battery problem, we continued tests and Toyota Prius performed admirably. We managed to find one minor issue with the system (a corrupted phone name would freeze the on-board display), but otherwise the Prius Bluetooth system was far more stable than our test phones and PCs. We had to reboot our test systems several times as their Bluetooth systems died on us, while Toyota Prius just kept going," Jarno Niemela, a researcher at F-Secure's Labs who carried out the tests, concluded. ®

Related stories

My car has a virus (and other security threats)
Users untouched by mobile viruses despite hype
Mobile botnet threat downplayed
Text me and I'll reply with a virus

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes
That's not the website you're looking for
ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora after Twitter blockade
Nothing we can do to stop them, says decentralized network
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.