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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019
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Fiat recalls 1.4 million cars after hackers take control of a jeep over the internet

Hackers were able to change the vehicle’s speed and control the brakes.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

FIAT CHRYSLER HAS decided to recall about 1.4 million cars and trucks in the US just days after two hackers revealed that they took control of a Jeep Cherokee SUV over the internet.

The company also disclosed in government documents that the hackers got into the Jeep through an electronic opening in the radio and said it would update software to close it. On Thursday, Fiat Chrysler sealed off a loophole in its internal cellular telephone network with vehicles to prevent similar attacks, the automaker said in a statement.

The vulnerability exposed by the hack rippled through the auto industry and drew the attention of government safety regulators, who on Friday opened an investigation into the Jeep incident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would find out which other automakers use the same radios. It came as the industry is rapidly adding Internet-connected features such as WiFi and navigation that are convenient for drivers but make the car more vulnerable to outside attacks.

“I think it’s a pretty big deal,” said James Carder, chief information security officer for LogRhythm Inc., a Boulder, Colorado, security company.

“This isn’t intellectual property going out the door, this is 1.4 million lives on the line.”

Automakers, he said, have become accustomed to testing mechanical safety, but most aren’t doing enough online security testing.

Shortly after the hack was disclosed in a Wired magazine article this week, Fiat Chrysler said it would contact owners of vehicles and offer software updates to fix the problem.

But documents show that the wider recall came at the urging of government safety regulators.

The fix came after two well-known hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, remotely took control of the Cherokee through its UConnect entertainment system. They were able to change the vehicle’s speed and control the brakes, radio, windshield wipers, transmission and other features. They estimated 471,000 vehicles were vulnerable.

The recall affects vehicles with 8.4-inch touchscreens including 2013 to 2015 Ram pickups and chassis cabs and Dodge Viper sports cars. Also covered are 2014 and 2015 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs, as well as the 2015 Chrysler 200 and 300, and the Dodge Charger and Challenger.

Read: Deadly ignition switches linked to 56 deaths, brain damage and amputation

Read: More than 25,000 Renaults have been recalled because of a braking issue

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