According to Reuters, a team of top hackers working for Intel Corp’s security division are hard at work searching to electronic bugs that could make automobiles vulnerable to computer viruses.
Intel’s McAfee unit, which is best known for software that fights PC viruses, is one of a handful of firms looking to protect the dozens of tiny computers and electronic communications systems built into every modern car, the article reports.
Security experts claim that automakers have thus far failed to adequately protect these systems, leaving them vulnerable to hackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on conversations or harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash.
To date, there have been no reports of violent attacks on automobiles using a computer virus, according to SAE International, an organization of more than 128,000 technical professionals working in the aerospace and auto industries, Reuters reports.
Yet, a Ford spokesman said his company had already tasked its security engineers with making its Sync in-vehicle communications and entertainment system as resistant as possible to attack.
A groups of U.S. computer scientists shook the industry in 2010 with a landmark study showing that viruses could damage cars when they were moving at high speeds.
That group of computer scientists from California and Washington state issued a second report last year that identified ways in which computer worms and Trojans could be delivered to automobiles – via on-board diagnostics systems, wireless connections and even tainted CDs played through the radio system, the article reports.
None of the major automobile manufacturers have reported any instances of computer viruses within their cars as of yet, the article says.