Last month, Chrysler officially announced a recall of 1.4 million of its
vehicles following an investigative report published by the technology magazine
Wired's "Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It," researchers proved that it was possible to remotely affect a Chrysler
dashboard computer and effectively shut down the vehicle while it was
still being operated by the driver at high speeds.
Wired has followed up with Chrysler's response, which is to recall over a million of its
vehicles, including over a dozen different jeep and truck models. The
number far exceeds the 471,000 vehicles that
Wired's researchers initially estimated in their hacking experiment.
The key issue lies with the Uconnect dashboard computers installed in Chrysler’s
Wired's researchers found that the system had critical vulnerabilities related
to its use of the Sprint cellular network. Not only did they find that
they locate other Chrysler drivers on the road with a GPS, but control
the radio, windshield wipers, climate control, steering, brakes, and transmission.
A New Kind of Recall
While technology has given motor vehicles new functions—and vulnerabilities—it
has also provided a new kind of recall. In this recent case, no Chrysler
owner will have to take their vehicle to be serviced. Instead, they will
be mailed a USB thumb drive that contains programming that will fix the
Uconnect issue. Chrysler also announced that the software update will
help strengthen security across the entire network.
In their statement, Chrysler maintained that the
Wired report was not a cause for immediate concern for drivers. "The 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 statement reads.
Wired concedes a similar point: it took their researchers over a year to manipulate
the Chrysler vehicles as they did.
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