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Virus protection

Now that the first "third-party apps" have started to appear such as the larger clock, how do we protect our cars from viruses? How do we insure that downloading these apps won't cause problems? I think Tesla should come up with a certification process whereby outside application developers can submit their apps for certification by Tesla. Once Tesla has tested the app and given it its seal of approval, then we Tesla owners could be assured that downloading it would be safe. Also, what about surfing the web. What if any virus and malware protection is installed in our cars?

As far as I know, no language was specified.

Ok, I stand corrected about the Mac OS. I'm also willing to consider that it's possible to maliciously actuate the brakes on some cars by hacking them. I haven't seen or heard any indications that the Model S would be susceptible to that particular attack though. I think the friction brakes are basically "dumb", and that's how I like them :)

Thanks, all, for the links and references. I was unaware that TM had promised an SDK or API. Still, I think we need to see what processes will be exposed before worrying about virus protection.

Since you can reboot the centre and dashboard systems independently - and while driving- I suspect that they are in fact separated. The level of separation would be interesting, I'm not sure that I'd want a single memory error crashing the drive circuitry, ABS, power steering assist, lights, door locks and windows simultaneously!

Most current cars use separate 'ECUs' to control those functions. It's possible that they are linked but operate independently.

While not particularly concerned with viruses for the Model S, I am concerned to make sure that it can't be accessed and compromised remotely. It would need to use proper authentication - two factor, not just a password! I'm hoping that it does this already.

FYI, it's pretty much impossible for an un-jailbroken iPad/iPhone to get a virus - they're severely sandboxed (i.e., constrained in what system resources they can use), and are forbidden to execute programs from writable memory. That is, they can't write data somewhere and then execute it as a program. In short, you can only access and modify what Apple allows you to - and when you submit an app to the AppStore, you have to tell them exactly what permissions you'll need.

Contrast that to a normal desktop environment where you can execute anything from anywhere with all permissions, and you'll see why iOS is a pretty safe environment.

I would assume that Tesla will have the customizable portion of the car done in a similar way - the basic functions are iron-clad, while other areas are modifiable. If it were up to me, they'd be on separate processors and memory, just sharing display access, but that's probably overkill.

There's also Linux's modular nature to consider. Windows main problem with virii & malware is that the OS underlying it isn't modular, everything running is dependent on other parts of the OS functioning. Linux is modular so if one part of it stops functioning, it won't affect any other parts, and can be isolated if need be.

Currently, there are very few virii that can affect Mac OS & Unix based systems mostly because they aren't as prevalent as Windows based systems are. I forget the numbers, but it's something like 90-95% of OS's in use are Windows based.

IMHO, while its not impossible for a Model S to be affected by virii/malware, the possibility of it happening is vanishingly remote.

What is the size of the entire OS for the computer?
Is it a good idea to do a thumbdrive backup? I don't have my Model S yet, so I don't even know if there is a USB port, but if there isn't, there should be. That way, you can load the OS onto the thumbdrive, then just reinstall...good idea, or stupid?

No one has posted or published any way to access a command line to control the "computer." There is probably a way to do it, but it hasn't been made public. Basically, what you have is a browser -- and a stripped down browser at that. No way to save files, much less the OS.

I actually wonder if each Model S has a secured partition where a Read Only copy of the OS software is kept. That way, should a wipe and reload be needed, it can be done on the road, rather than needing any prehipheral hardware.


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