Fiat Chrysler to Recall More Trucks to Fix Impact Sensors

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. It followed an investigation by computer programmers and Wired magazine, where they managed to manipulate a Jeep Cherokee being driven on a Missouri motorway.

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. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration however said it would investigate Fiat’s recall to “better assess the effectiveness of the remedy.” Earlier this month, two well-known cybersecurity researchers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, showed that merely working from theirs laptops they could compromise the Jeep Cherokee’s electronics via its radio system. Louis highway at 70 miles an hour – and the hackers from 10 miles away took over and changed vehicle’s speed, manipulated the radio and windshield wipers. “Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents…started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system,” wrote Andy Greenberg. 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”.

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. 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.

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