Bluetooth Virus Possibly Infects Lexus

The one big theme of this new century will be digital convergence. All of our appliances will eventually, in one way or another, be able to talk to each other. However, it is very apparent that we are still definitely in the learning stage, and we have not yet even begun to imagine the possible risks and dangers that may come out of this brave new world.

One of the latest standards to come out is Bluetooth, which allows various electronics devices such as cellphones, PDAs, computers and cars to be able to wirelessly transfer data when they are in range of each other. In theory, this sounds great. After all, I would love to look up directions online on my notebook, have that data automatically transferred to the PDA in my pocket and then downloaded onto my onboard navigational computer in my car as soon as come within range. However, with all our devices becoming “smarter,” they have also become open to new problems – viruses.

It has recently been reported that “Landcruiser 100 models LX470 and LS430 have been discovered with infected operating systems that transfer within a range of 15 feet.” Although it is still unclear whether this actually happened or if it is just a possibility, it certainly has very interesting implications if this virus can jump from car to car.

How does the virus get there in the first place? Well, in this particular instance, it looks like the virus can infect the Lexus via a cell phone using the Symbian OS. Although the Lexus’ dashboard computer seems to be running on a custom-built operating system, there is an “integrated phone system” built by Nokia. Of course, this is still speculative since there are not too many details being released currently.

One thing is for certain. The moment that computers control things like acceleration, breaks and steering, hackers will be there to exploit security vulnerabilities and things will get very interesting, very quickly.

[via Engadget]