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Fiat recalls 1.4m vehicles over remote engine ‘kill’ hack


2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the recalled vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling 1.4 million vehicles in the US thanks to the revelation of a car hacking method.

The vulnerability, which was revealed in a Wired article, makes it possible for hackers to seriously tamper with a vehicle.

Once a vehicle has been compromised, hackers can ‘kill’ the engine, remotely activate or disable the brakes, and even track a vehicle using GPS.

“The recall aligns with an ongoing software distribution that insulates connected vehicles from remote manipulation, which, if unauthorised, constitutes criminal action,” explains Fiat in a press release.

Check out Wired’s video below:

Fortunately, although Fiat’s solution is being called a ‘voluntary safety recall’, owners don’t actually have to send their vehicles in.

Instead, customers who own vehicles affected by the recall will be given a USB that will provide a software fix update.

Fiat is, of course, keen to play down any scaremongering, and released the following statement:

The Company is unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation, nor is it aware of any related complaints, warranty claims or accidents – independent of the media demonstration.”

It continues: “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.”

Fiat adds: “No defect has been found. FCA US is conducting this campaign out of an abundance of caution.”

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The following vehicles equipped with 8.4-inch touchscreens are affected:

  • 2013-2015 MY Dodge Viper specialty vehicles
  • 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups
  • 2013-2015 Ram 3500, 4500, 5500 Chassis Cabs
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs
  • 2014-2015 Dodge Durango SUVs
  • 2015 MY Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes

The news comes just days after Land Rover announced it would be recalling 65,000 cars thanks to a software bug that caused vehicle doors to ‘silently’ unlock of their own accord.

Do you own an affected Fiat vehicle? Or just have strong opinions about security issues that come with computerised cars? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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