Are Windows powered cars susceptible to Viruses?

Drum roll please…a great NYT article was published this morning about progress that has been made on car technology that learns to drive itself:
In the Future, Smart People Will Let Cars Take Control
Does that mean my parents won’t be on the road at 80? Maybe this is a good thing, I remember how my grandmother drove at that age.

“Some people won’t ever want to yield control; others will worry that the first smart cars will be like the early versions of Windows. There will be many, many car-computer jokes involving the word “crash.” ”

Yeah, sounds fantastic. Cars that drive themselves. The statement conjures up fond memories of field trips to Chicago’s massive Museum of Science and Technology, the futuristic transportation gizmo Piccard Gondola, and other cliches like “the Home of the Future”.
Or just maybe, a version of Microsoft Windows driving my car. That statement conjures up memories of blue screens of death (sounds horrible in relation to cars that drive themselves!), third party component heap overflow attacks, flawed ActiveX permissions, “Venetian shell code” techniques, and the confusing acronym soup of security hype that plagues users of the internet. There’s a new swarm of security concerns every quarter. And this stuff is going to drive my car?

The implementation is where the rubber hits the road, and it always seems to happen that security concerns fall last in the list of engineering priorities in a project (except for some fine examples, vsFtp and OpenBSD folks). If you’ve seen The Italian Job, you’ve watched what can happen when the networking meets transportation — the L.A. transporation department gets reminded “You’ll never shut down the real Napster”. These sorts of concerns are very relavent to projects like computer-automated driving learning systems. My hope is that the security efforts of the sorts that Microsoft has aggressively begun attending to over the past couple of years will be built into these driving platforms from the ground up.

Grandma might have thought that would be a fine idea.

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