Fiat Chrysler recalls nearly 8,000 cars citing hacking threats

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has issued a voluntary recall of nearly 8000 cars in the US citing software vulnerabilities that may lead to hacking and remote manipulation.

Out of the 7,810 cars recalled, FCA says that half of the cars are with dealers who will be updating the software before the cars are sold to customers and the rest of the cars are already on road. The cars affected and recalled are certain 2015 Jeep Renegade SUVs equipped with 6.5-inch touchscreens.

“The campaign is designed to protect connected vehicles from remote manipulation. If unauthorized, such interference constitutes a criminal act”, FCA said in a press release. “FCA US has already applied measures to prevent the type of vehicle manipulation demonstrated in a recent media report. These measures – which required no customer or dealer actions – block remote access to certain vehicle systems”, the company added.

FCA also added that it is not aware of any injuries related to such a software hack. No related complaints or warranty claims or accidents have been received either, apart from the media demonstrations.

The automobile manufacturer says that the software vulnerability patched through the software update isn’t easy to exploit as it requires unique and extensive technical knowledge, along with prolonged physical access to the target vehicle and extended periods of time to write code.

Customers will receive a USB device to upgrade the device or visit http://www.driveuconnect.com/software-update/ to input their Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) and determine if their vehicles are included in the recall.

If the vehicle is included in the recall, customers may either download the software themselves or visit their dealers where technicians will perform the installation. There is no charge associated with the update process.