Unless you’ve been living under a rock in terms of automotive knowledge, you would know that recently two cybersecurity experts and a technology magazine demonstrated in a live test how a modern automobile can be hacked and commandeered.
That’s why Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has taken a never before path of recalling around 1.4 million cars and trucks that employ a vulnerable infotainment system – the first time ever a company initiates a safety campaign in response to a hacking threat. This means a new milestone has been achieved for the automotive industry, which last year also set an unwanted record, recalling a total of 64 million autos throughout the US. The company, the third largest US automaker and the seventh biggest in the world has also said in a recent statement that unauthorized remote access to certain vehicle systems was already blocked thanks to a network-level improvement issued on July 23 and affected customers are also able to gain a USB device to upgrade the vehicles’ software with new safety features. The company added there were no real-world instances of remote hacking and no defect was found, though it was taking the recall step out of “an abundance of caution.”
This is also not the first time cybersecurity experts have shown automobiles are increasingly vulnerable to hacking – the latest feat has become so widely known because the experts were able to find and take command of a vehicle why staying safe miles away through the usage of the on-board cellular network that connected the vehicles’ infotainment system. This proven capability now makes the possibility of remotely hacking modern vehicles a reality. “It validates that cyber-hacking with cars is a serious issue that the auto industry must pay attention to,” comments Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at technology consultant Gartner Inc.