Magazine article Security Management

Car Viruses and Other Future Computer-Related Threats

Magazine article Security Management

Car Viruses and Other Future Computer-Related Threats

Article excerpt

When you're roaring down the highway on a rainy day, you're depending on a number of computer chips to manage your brakes and steering. They quickly evaluate road conditions and help you bring the car to a safe halt.


The last thing you want, then, is for the car's minicomputers to be vulnerable to viruses or other malware, and require patching or updating as often as a desktop computer. But we may be getting closer to that stage, says David Friedlander, a senior analyst with Forrester Research, who has written a report suggesting that in the next few years we can expect to see a wide range of devices, from vehicles to machinery, that need to be managed like traditional computing resources.

"In terms of the number of devices and the diversity of things that count now as computing infrastructure, they have enough computing power that you begin to worry about managing them and the way these devices connect to a network and each other," he says. These devices can be found increasingly in cars--such as GPS systems--which could be connected "wirelessly to a manufacturer for service information," says Friedlander.

And they aren't just in cars. Production machinery and even medical devices will be connected and sharing data with other computing devices and networks--and that creates the possibility of being hacked or infected.

Other tech experts foresee a similar expansion of threats to what are called "embedded computing devices." For example, a report from IBM's Security Intelligence Services notes that the growing sophistication of malicious code aimed at wireless devices may be a harbinger of threats to come. …

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