Does your vehicle need antivirus software? It will soon.
It’s hard enough to convince consumers to invest in (and update) antivirus software for their computers, but a hard look by TechCrunch at the potential for harm when it comes to malware infecting your car might make drivers think twice.
As innovations in the auto industry come about–no, not the innovations from Volkwagen…the good kind of innovations–cars are more connected than ever before. And it’s gone way past simply connecting the driver’s phone to the vehicle for safer operation, or connecting the vehicle back to the manufacturer for maintenance updates to the onboard software. Both of those cyber-relationships are important, despite being vulnerable to attack. Even the aftermarket plug-ins from insurance companies that help drivers consider their speed and manoeuvring can be left wide open to intrusion.
But the new wave in connected cars is cars that can talk to each other, or to stop signs or road hazard indicators, for example. Of course, the car itself isn’t connecting to the sign or to the Toyota that went whizzing past; it’s connecting to the cloud and communicating through anything else that’s connected. Like a virus.
Where the Internet of Things has already had its share of worrywarts who predict our gloom and doom (or at the very least, highly inconvenient bodily harm), it’s bad enough when a virus takes over your Nest thermostat and runs up your electric bill. Imagine that same jerk infecting your car with a virus and slamming it through an elementary school playground while you sit helplessly in the driver’s seat.
There are companies hard at work on creating antivirus software for automobiles, but for now they’re aimed at working with the manufacturers to provide constant monitoring. But the days of dropping a cardboard activation package into your shopping cart from your discount store’s electronics department don’t seem too far-fetched. However, just as with desktop PC and mobile device protection, the real trick will be convincing consumers to use it.