Virginia Tech received a grant to develop technology protecting against battery-draining hacker attacks.
Researchers will use the $400,000 National Science Foundation Information Technology grant to produce software and hardware with built-in measures to withstand attacks on battery-operated computers and wireless devices.
Tom Martin of the Bradley department of electrical and computer engineering at Tech initiated the project in response to an attack on his own computer.
?I discovered that a hacker had broken into my computer and was running software so power-hungry that the fan came on,? Martin said.
He had recently read an article suggesting hackers could create viruses to drain the battery of any type of computer in addition to attacking computers directly, he said.
Wireless devices, such as cell phones, are also susceptible to a kind of battery drainage that could be triggered simply by repeatedly checking messages to see if they are valid, Martin said.
The number of deliberate battery attack cases on wireless devices is not yet a problem for the wireless industry. There is concern, however, that deliberate battery drainage could result in ?denial of service? problems for both battery-operated computers and wireless devices.
?If hackers develop viruses that can drain your computer?s battery at will, you?ll be denied the service of that computer,? Martin said.