Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NASDAQ:FCAU) has recalled 1.4 million vehicles on Friday in the United States, after hackers exposed their ability to take control of connected cars. The company has announced a software fix for the radio’s glitch to prevent hacking.
Cybersecurity researchers demonstrated the software glitch by taking control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, using the Internet. They were able to take control of the car’s engine, brakes and the steering in some vehicles. The U.S Department of Transportation considers this recall as the largest automobile recall affecting vehicles like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles. The experts used Fiat Chrysler’s telematics system to gain control of the car.
“It’s a bit of a wake up call… …generally speaking, vehicle data defenses are not that great,” said associate director Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Congress have expressed their concern over connected cars. On Thursday, two Democrats introduced a bill to develop standards for isolating critical software and detection of hacking.
However, the FCA US, LLC mentioned in its announcement that it was unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation. The recalled vehicle include Cherokee SUVs and Jeep Grand Cherokee from the model years 2014 and 2015 and 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes and others.
Customers of the recalled vehicles will receive a memory stick to upgrade vehicle software for additional security. This case also marks the first digital recall and new concerns for customers who are heading to the Internet era of vehicles. The software would also require regular updates, to prevent hackers from using new methods to break into the system.
The breach was through the car’s Internet-connected entertainment system. Currently, about 22 million vehicles are connected to the Internet, and the number is set to triple by 2022. Both the NHTSA and FCA were not available for comment.