Feds: Chrysler the only automaker with radio-induced cyber vulnerabilities

(Cyberwar.news) Federal officials have said that Fiat Chrysler vehicles were the only ones in the U.S. market that have the potential to be hacked, which prompted a recall of 1.4 million vehicles, The Hill reported.

That conclusion by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was contained in a report issued on the agency’s Web site over the weekend, and it marks the conclusion of a five-month investigation into whether other carmakers also had similar cybersecurity issues with their vehicles that allowed hackers to remotely hijack a Jeep Cherokee last year.

That hack, which took place in July, showed that cyber researchers could take control of a vehicle while it was on the highway from a remote location some 10 miles away. The two researchers were able to manipulate the air conditioning, switch on the windshield wipers and then disengage the vehicle’s transmission. Researchers said the bug was in the Jeep’s radio system.

The event, profiled in a Wired article, caused Chrysler’s recall and led the NHTSA to launch an investigation to find out whether other vehicles made by other companies were similarly vulnerable.

The agency said that similar radios that were manufactured by Harman International had also been installed in cars made by Volkswagen, Bentley and Audi, but those vehicles came with security systems with much better cybersecurity.

“Based on a thorough review of technical information supplied during the course of this investigation, there does not appear to be a reason to suspect that the infotainment head units Harman supplied to other vehicle manufacturers contain the vulnerabilities identified,” NHTSA said in the documents, first reported on by The Associated Press.

When it was first disclosed the Jeep hack was a big deal on Capitol Hill, The Hill noted. Two days after the first report was published Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the Spy Car Act, which would have required the NHTSA and the Federal Trade Commission to establish cybersecurity guidelines for automakers.

Markey is just one of a number of lawmakers who have been looking into the automobile industry’s cyber vlunerabilities for the past year. He released his own report last February that described vehicles’ digital defenses as “inconsistent and haphazard.”

In fact, cyber security experts have consistently held that view. They have warned that vehicles being loaded with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other wireless capabilities are ripe for hacking.

Indeed, researchers have demonstrated that cars can be hacked and hijacked using a number of now-common wireless features.

See also:

The Hill

The Associated Press

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