Now Cars Are Vulnerable to Malware?

According to researchers at UCSD and the University of Washington, the rise of complex computer systems in cars means they're now vulnerable to malware and viruses just like our computers. How would one infect a car? MP3s, of course.

But their most interesting attack focused on the car stereo. By adding extra code to a digital music file, they were able to turn a song burned to CD into a Trojan horse. When played on the car's stereo, this song could alter the firmware of the car's stereo system, giving attackers an entry point to change other components on the car. This type of attack could be spread on file-sharing networks without arousing suspicion, they believe. "It's hard to think of something more innocuous than a song," said Stefan Savage, a professor at the University of California.

i'm assuming they're referring to car stereo systems that actually read and process MP3 files (and not burned audio discs or auxilary audio sources), but once they gained control of an unidentified 2009 car using this hack, they had access to GPS data, Vehicle Identification numbers, and control over systems like locks, brakes and the engine altogether.

But as scary as that sounds, there's probably no need to freak out. Those same researchers say its unlikely that car hacking will be common because of how specialized each car's system software is. {IT World via Boing Boing]

Photo Credit: Flickr/rtpeat