Chrysler Ram Trucks Recalled Over Air Bag Fault

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

1.4mn vehicles recalled over remote hack vulnerability.

Just days after hackers demonstrated that they could remotely access Jeep Cherokee’s electronic entertainment system, control cars while engines are running, or even crash one, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled some 1.4mn vehicles for a software update.Fiat Chrysler has recalled 1.4 million cars and trucks under pressure from the US Government after it was revealed that the vehicles’ computers could be hacked and remotely controlled.WASHINGTON — When the call came to officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they knew they had a problem they had never faced but had long feared. It followed an investigation by computer programmers and Wired magazine, where they managed to manipulate a Jeep Cherokee being driven on a Missouri motorway.

They had managed to gain control of not just features like the radio and air-conditioning, but the actual functions of the car: the engine, the brakes and the steering. However, car manufacturers in the UK have been under increased pressure to improve the security features on vehicles that can be accessed by computer hackers. That revelation set in motion a nine-day flurry of activity by the automaker and the safety agency that culminated Friday in a sweeping recall of 1.4 million vehicles. “Launching a recall is the right step to protect Fiat Chrysler’s customers, and it sets an important precedent for how N.H.T.S.A. and the industry will respond to cybersecurity vulnerabilities,” said Mark R. Interestingly, a Fiat blog entry by Gualberto Ranieri stated the company was aware the hackers were doing ongoing research intentionally hacking Miller’s vehicle over the past year, and that they had communicated with the company about aspects of their work. “To [the] FCA’s knowledge, there has not been a single real world incident of an unlawful or unauthorized remote hack into any FCA vehicle,” said Ranieri.

Accordingly, FCA US has established a dedicated [engineering] team focused on identifying and implementing best practices for software development and integration.” The company said it was unaware of any injuries related to what it called “software exploitation”. The researchers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, had given the automaker a heads up: The two men planned to make their findings public early this week. Playing down the possible risks, it added: “Software manipulation addressed by this recall required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle, and extended periods of time to write code.” The US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said President Obama would be pushing hard to make sure the 250 million vehicles on US roads were properly protected from cyber hacking. The problems for FCA come just a day after rival General Motors revealed second-quarter profits were four times higher than in 2014, hitting $1.1bn (£710m) as bosses put last year’s troubles behind them – $1.28bn in recalls and compensation for a potentially fatal ignition switch fault in millions of compact cars.

The hacking issues may not have hit the UK, but last year 6,000 cars were stolen in London by thieves using computers to trick cars into starting without keys. Fiat Chrysler software specialists scrambled to make a patch available to plug the hole, and released one on the automaker’s website on July 16, the day after the call to Washington. Figures revealed that one in three car thefts in the capital were carried out this way, and the pressure is on carmakers, particularly Land Rover and BMW, to improve their security. Experts have warned that thieves may even be using computer malware to take over vehicle systems via satellite, issuing remote commands for them to unlock and start up.

And if drivers were vulnerable to an attack where they could lose control of their cars, that would certainly seem to qualify, even though a recall for a web security threat had never before taken place. In the meantime, the researchers made their findings known on Tuesday in an article published by the news technology site Wired, telling how they had taken control of a cooperating driver’s car from 10 miles away as it sped down a St. Rosekind was visiting Michigan for a speech in which he addressed the need for improved web security in vehicles.) N.H.T.S.A. officials decided that the vulnerability was simply too dangerous not to require a formal recall.

That includes some Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees, Dodge Durangos, Ram pickup trucks, Chrysler 200 and 300 sedans, Dodge Chargers and Vipers. (The company set up a VIN search tool to let consumers check if their vehicle is affected.) The automaker also said it had “applied network-level security measures” on the Sprint cellular network that communicates with its vehicles as another step to block the vulnerability. Valasek, one of the two researchers, posted on social media that when he tried connecting again to his test Jeep, the pathway through Sprint’s network had been blocked. A Fiat Chrysler spokesman, Berj Alexanian, declined to comment on the precise timeline of when the patch was developed, but said that since its release the company has “taken more steps to ensure the confidence and security of our customers,” including deciding, “in an abundance of caution, to continue the distribution under the auspices of a recall.” “This was a wake-up call for automakers,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Autotrader.com. “I will bet emergency meetings are being called at many auto companies.” Web security specialists say that while intrusions into consumers’ computers and phones result in financial damage, or possibly issues like identify theft, the danger posed by vehicles is unique in its potential to inflict physical harm. “The transformation you’ve seen is that hacking has moved into the safety realm,” said Jon Allen, a security specialist with Booz Allen Hamilton. “Autos take it to a new level.” “Both automakers and N.H.T.S.A. should be immediately taking steps to verify that other similar vulnerabilities do not exist in other models that are on the road,” said Senator Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts. Markey, along with Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, recently drafted legislation to set federal standards for web security protection in vehicles.

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan, and the panel’s top Democrat, Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, also issued a statement, saying that “cars today are essentially computers on wheels, and the last thing drivers should have to worry about is some hacker along for the ride.”

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