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Hackers' Latest Target: Your Vehicles?

July 30, 2015 Leave a comment dridrive

Car breakdownHackers aren’t just making mincemeat out of retailers and government offices — a recent Wired article shows they could be coming after our cars!

Two professional hackers demonstrated their ability to take command of an unmodified 2014 Jeep Cherokee while it was being driven by Wired journalist Andy Greenberg. They exploited a vulnerability they had discovered in some versions of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Unconnect system, which connects to the internet through a Sprint cellular data connection.

In their demonstration, the hackers:

  • blasted the vehicle’s radio
  • turned on the wipers and a torrent of washer fluid
  • shut off the Cherokee’s engine while it was traveling on the highway
  • took control of the Cherokee’s steering wheel while the transmission was in reverse, and
  • disabled the brakes.

A portion of the code will be shown at a black hat security conference next month, to convince auto manufacturers that their products are vulnerable.

FCA subsequently released a software update that it says “offers customers improved vehicle electronic security and communications system enhancements.”