Fiat Chrysler has announced a massive recall of roughly 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. to upgrade their software so it won't be hackable.
Just a few days ago, cybersecurity researchers managed to gain remote control of a Jeep Cherokee SUV over the Internet, using a wireless connection to turn the car's engine off as it drove. This naturally raised lots of concerns regarding the cars' safety, and Fiat Chrysler decided to take some measures in the matter.
While technological advancements lead to more convenience and possibilities, features such as Wi-Fi and online navigation can also make a vehicle more vulnerable to attacks.
The automaker said the aforementioned software hack required "unique and extensive technical knowledge," as well as extended access to a subject car and a lot of time writing code.
Fiat Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is now voluntarily recalling 1.4 million cars and trucks equipped with certain radios in order to update their software to close a security loophole that allowed hackers to sneak in through the cars' radio, using the internal cellular telephone network.
"The recall aligns with an ongoing software distribution that insulates connected vehicles from remote manipulation, which, if unauthorized, constitutes criminal action," the automaker explains in a press release.
Fiat Chrysler further says it implemented security measures within the cellular network to block such remote access to the cars' systems. Customers or dealers don't have to take any action to get the update.
Regardless, the recent hack exposes a serious vulnerability that echoes beyond Fiat Chrysler's vehicles. In light of this incident, government safety regulators decided to open an investigation into the matter, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration aims to find out which other carmakers use the same radios.
Fiat Chrysler, for its part, adds that it has no knowledge of any injuries associated with such software manipulation, nor of any related complaints, accidents or warranty claims.
Nevertheless, the recall aims to make the cars more secure against such software exploitation and will affect several car models from 2013 to 2015. The carmaker further notes that customers affected by this recall should expect to receive a USB device to upgrade the car's software, adding extra security features.
The recall affects some vehicles with 8.4-inch touchscreens, part of the following series:
- MY Dodge Viper specialty vehicles from 2013 to 2015
- Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks from 2013 to 2015
- Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as Cherokee SUVs from 2014 and 2015
- Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs from 2013 to 2015
- Dodge Durango SUVs from 2014 and 2015
- MY Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans from 2015
- Dodge Challenger sports coupes from 2015
To check whether their vehicle is affected by this recall, customers can visit the company's dedicated website and input their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Lastly, Fiat Chrysler points out that it has assembled a special team for System Quality Engineering, which will focus on discovering and implementing the best practices in regard to software development and integration.