Fiat Chrysler trucks to be recalled as door slams set off air bags

26 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chrysler Ram Trucks Recalled Over Air Bag Fault.

The latest air bag-related recall for Chrysler follows a first-ever callback, announced on Friday, of about 1.4 million vehicles related to hackers exposing a cybersecurity threat.At the insistence of federal regulators, Fiat Chrysler is recalling about 843,000 pickup trucks because slamming the door too hard could set off the airbag meant to provide head protection in a side-impact crash, according to a report by the automaker posted Saturday on the regulator’s website. The announcement on Friday by FCA US LLC, formerly Chrysler Group LLC, was made days after reports that cybersecurity researchers used a wireless connection to turn off a Jeep Cherokee’s engine as it drove, increasing concerns about the safety of Internet-enabled vehicles. The researchers used Fiat Chrysler’s telematics system to break into a volunteer’s Cherokee being driven on the highway and issue commands to the engine, steering and brakes.

In addition to the United States vehicles, about 153,000 are being recalled in Canada, 8,300 in Mexico and 15,000 outside North America, a spokesman for Chrysler, Eric Mayne, said in an email. One of the recalls affects as many as 667,406 Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks manufactured from 20 June 2012, to 26 January 2015, in which the side air bags are “overly sensitive” and may activate without cause. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday it would investigate whether FCA’s solution to upgrade software was enough to protect consumers from hackers, although FCA said in its recall announcement that it was unaware of any injuries.

He said that at present there is a divide in terms of design, in that cars and other products could be accessible from a variety of sources, such as smartphones, as with the Cherokee, or else can be designed to communicate only with a single authenticated server. Researchers were able to find and disable vehicles from miles away over the cellular network that connects to the vehicles’ entertainment and navigation systems.

Ed Skoudis, an expert in securing connected devices, said the fact that the recall came so soon after publication of the FCA cybersecurity issue “is a shot across the bow of other IoT manufacturers that this could cost them a lot of money.” Skoudis said he hoped companies would reconsider what they spend on security earlier in the design process in order to avoid similar recalls, lawsuits and the threat of increased regulation. Instead, Chrysler wanted to notify owners that a fix was available, but the safety agency disagreed and insisted on a recall that requires every vehicle to be fixed and requires progress reports. Two Democratic Senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that would direct the NHTSA to develop standards for isolating critical software and detect hacking as it occurs. “We have said 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,” Fred Upton, the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Frank Pallone Jr of New Jersey, said in a statement on Friday. The recalled vehicles include some of the top-selling FCA products including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs from model years 2014 and 2015 and 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes, among others.

A spokeswoman for FCA said the USB sticks would be mailed to customers “as soon as possible.” FCA declined to comment beyond the statement it issued on the recall. In broad terms, “this is another example of a problem with an embedded system, some computer that is something that is not really a computer from a user perspective but is built to make something else work,” said Steven Bellovin, a professor of computer science at Columbia University.

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