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Fiat Chrysler Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles To Make Them Hack-Proof: Is Your Car Safe?

26 July 2015, 8:38 am EDT By Christian de Looper Tech Times
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Fiat Chrysler has announced a recall of 1.4 million cars after it was revealed that these cars can be hacked through an exploit in the radio. Through the exploit, hackers can gain almost complete control of the car.  ( Spencer Platt | Getty Images )

Fiat Chrysler has announced a recall of 1.4 million cars and trucks, only a few days after hackers revealed that they could take control of a Jeep Cherokee SUV wirelessly.

The hackers were able to gain access to the car through an opening in the radio, as disclosed by Jeep itself. The company has said that it would fix the opening through a software update.

The vulnerability was first exposed through a report in Wired, in which hackers were able to take full control of a Jeep with journalist Andy Greenberg inside. Hackers first took control of the radio and climate control system, changing music and putting the air conditioner on. Shortly after, however, the hackers were able to stop the transmission from working and take control of the steering wheel. In short, the hackers took complete control of the car.

The report quickly sent shockwaves through the auto industry, with carmakers working to make cars more like smartphones, having Internet connectivity that make them far more vulnerable. Carmakers increasingly have to be careful about the software used in cars for security purposes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that it would find out which companies use the same radios.

It makes sense that FCA, or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, would want to quickly patch the issue. Those responsible for the hack have said that they would publish "a portion of their exploit" on the Web, essentially meaning that anyone can access it. This publishing would coincide with a Black Hat security conference, scheduled to take place in August.

It's important to note that while FCA admits that the hacking is certainly serious, it mentions that it knows of no injuries related to the hack, nor does it know of any time in which hackers have been able to take control of the car beyond the media demonstration.

"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," says FCA in a statement. "No defect has been found. FCA U.S. is conducting this campaign out of an abundance of caution."

The recall, so far, involves a number of cars beyond the Jeep. These include Dodge Viper specialty vehicles, the Dodge Durango, Dodge RAM and others. The full list can be found here.

Owners of the cars affected will get a USB drive that can be used to update the software of the car.

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