PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Fiat Chrysler moved quickly to recall 1.4 million vehicles equipped with certain Internet and radio software that can be hacked by outsiders.
“It’s one of those things that was kind of born on the web, and we learned about it quickly thereafter,” Ted Cole, general manager of Three Rivers Chrysler, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.
The problem was first discovered by a friendly hacker from Pittsburgh — Chris Valasek — and his St. Louis colleague Charlie Miller — who miles away took control of another driver’s car.
“We were able to access the jeep Cherokee over its 3-G connection,” said Valasek of Shadyside.
The ethical hackers, who shared their studies with the manufacturers, hacked into the car’s uConnect infotainment system, taking control of the car, shutting down brakes, and driving it into a ditch.
“It’s very concerning that someone could control your car while you’re driving,” noted Deborah Young of Rankin.
Working with Valasek and Miller, Fiat Chrysler developed new software to safeguard against this, and dealers like Cole are prepared to install it.
“Probably a 10 or 15 minute actual process,” says Cole. “Of course, sometimes there’s waiting until we get to them, but it’s a very easy process.”
Customers can also go online to do it themselves.
The affected cars included the following:
- 2013-2015 MY Dodge Viper
- 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500, & 3500 pickups
- 2013-2015 Ram 2500, 4500, 5500 chassis cabs
- 2014-2015 Dodge Durango SUVs
- 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee & Cherokee SUVs
- 2015 Chrysler 200, 300, and Dodge Charger
- 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupe
While this recall involves certain models of Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge, if hackers can use a cell phone to lock into the computer system of any vehicle, the manufacturers of all kinds will have to pay attention and get on top of this problem in the weeks and months ahead.
Already federal legislation has been introduced to expand cyber security protections to automobiles.
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