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Dodges, Jeeps stolen by hackers

by David Zatz on

Last year, security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek hacked into a Jeep to alert the general public of security problems in increasingly-connected cars. FCA quickly updated its software, but recently, Miller and Valasek showed off a similar exploit.

Jeep-Cherokee-Hacked

According to FCA, Miller and Valasek, who currently work for Uber, used a vehicle whose software had been upgraded as part of a recall, but then restored back to an older version. This reversion may be required for the exploit.

Automakers are only slowly addressing malicious hacking in the design of their software. FCA used the “designed for security” QNX system, but had holes in the software that dealt with their wireless provider.

Already, according to ABC TV in Houston, Texas, a host of cars have been stolen due to an exploit. Two thieves appear to have been behind a string of thefts, which reportedly took just six minutes to accomplish, using a laptop.  They had been targeting Jeep and Dodge, and had a long string of thefts, likely ending up with chop shops or resale in Mexico. (Update: they did not attack the UConnect system, apparently finding a new exploit.)

FCA had no comment on the story, but many customers do not respond to recall notices, so even if the vulnerability had been patched by the company, the cars involved may not have had their software updated.

Other companies, including Ford, GM, and Tesla, have also proven vulnerable to hacking. Thanks, Rex Sagle.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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