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FCA’s anti-hacker bug bounty

by Bill Cawthon on

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has become the first full-line automaker to reward coders who find software vulnerabilities in their cars.


Almost one year ago, two security specialists took over a Jeep Cherokee, using shortcomings of the Uconnect Access / Via Mobile systems; they were able to control the transmission, brakes, and other parts of the vehicle. (See “Hackers Control Jeep Cherokee From 10 Miles Away” for more details)

Malicious hackers increasingly threaten vehicle safety, especially as cars become more connected, autonomous features are added, and basic systems move from being mechanical to being computerized.

FCA US has partnered with Bugcrowd, a group of more than 30,000 security researchers who tests systems to uncover exploitable bugs. The company is offering bounties of $150 to $1,500 for every reported vulnerability, to be administered by Bugcrowd. The actual amount will be based on how critical the bug is. Bugcrowd is also used by Western Union, Pinterest. and Tesla.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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