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Worms Communications Security IT

Testing Out Cell-Phone Viruses on a Prius 196

Mikko Hypponen writes "Couple of months ago there were rumours floating around that Bluetooth viruses could infect the on-board computers of some Lexus cars, or at least cause some visible effects on them. We took a Toyota Prius to an underground bunker and tested various Bluetooth mobile phone viruses and assorted Bluetooth attacks against the onboard computer. Results were somewhat surprising. It came as no surprise that we could not infect the car, but the Prius performed in the test even better than expected. No matter what we did the car did not react to the Bluetooth traffic at all. Cabir tried to send itself to the car and the car just did not allow the Bluetooth OBEX transfer to happen. Then, the whole car crashed (but not because of a virus)... Full story with pictures in our weblog."
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Testing Out Cell-Phone Viruses on a Prius

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  • Re:Serious Question (Score:5, Informative)

    by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Monday May 09, 2005 @07:51PM (#12483259) Homepage Journal
    RTFA. It wasn't their car. Toyota lent it to them.
  • Re:Still At Risk (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2005 @09:51PM (#12484006)
    Fortunately, many modern cars have an automatic power down mode, which switches off all headlights, etc. so now you need to 'leave the door open' to kill the battery... and in most locations 'leaving the door open' will result in 'the car driving itself to a chop shop'
  • by SagSaw ( 219314 ) <> on Monday May 09, 2005 @10:27PM (#12484319)
    Granted, the transmission may not be working -- but there should be a diagnostic saying "OMFG Battery Voltage Low" first.

    IAAAEE (I am an automotive electrical engieer)...

    From an automotive safety standpoint, a malfunctioning park interlock system is pretty close to the top of the list of bad things. The part interlock is the system that prevents the an automatic transmission from shifting out of park unless the vehicle key is in the ignition and there is a second input from the driver (typically by pressing the brake). If the park interlock malfunctions, a simple bump of the shifter (or possibly even the vehicle) might cause the car to shift out of park and begin to roll away. Typically, any failure that disables the function of the park interlock is given the highest severity (Severe injury or death occurs without warning) on any type of DFMEA analysis.

    By prominitly displaying a warning on the dashboard, this failure drops down a few notches in severity as there is clear warning that a failure has occured and instructions from how to minimize the risk.

    As a result, if the Prius is only capable of displaying one fault condition at a time, a fault with the park interlock system is much more important to display than a low battery voltage. That having been said, some sort of indication of a low battery condition would also be a good idea, perhaps via a trouble light on the dashboard or elsewhere.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @01:41AM (#12485543)

    Disclaimer: I write Symbian software for a living.

    So they went to an underground bunker to be safe. Why? Those so-called viruses will ASK you to accept first the transfer, then you'll have to deliberately click through the installation process - the virus just WILL NOT appear on your cell phone like that. It's a completely different mechanism than in the old DOS viruses which just appeared, or the Windows worms which infect your machine through the network behind your back.

    They should call those "Symbian viruses" trojans because that's what those are. But then again, failure to create irrational fear translates directly to bad stock performance causing the imaginary money these people never had (stock options) to diminish.

    To receive something and to install it into the device requires too much user interaction to be practical. Therefore, among other things, there is no future for viruses in the Symbian platform. I think F-Secure knows this, and is trying to milk the mobile phone virus fear as long as they can.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @02:53AM (#12485854)
    I saw a brand new BMW 7 series, that had a stereo installed in it by a good friend of mine. somehow the serpentine belt went out on it, which made the alternator not work. which killed the battery. which then made it not start. which made it impossible to even do anything to, because it's ALL electronic, even the parking brake is a button on the dash.

    the guy took it to the BMW dealer, they hooked it up to the diagnostic, and said that my friend had fried all the electrical on the system, because it wasn't putting out 14 volts like it should have been. so they towed it over to the stereo shop my friend works at, only to have him look at it, and open the hood (which the BMW mechanics had never even done) to show him the belt had broken. only to have it towed BACK to the bmw dealer to have them replace the belt. there was nothing in thier flow chart of 'how to fix the car' that said 'open the hood', so they didn't.

    I fear for people who take thier cars to mechanics in 20 years. I also fear for cars in 20 years. I personally like my 30 year old VW bug, it's simple. easy. and reliable!

    I have a feeling simple electrical issues will be creating all kinds of problems in the kind of cars that will be released in the next 10 years.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling