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Jeep Cherokee hacked, highlights connected car vulnerabilities

The vulnerability was found in Uconnect software.

By CBR Staff Writer

Security researchers have reportedly hacked into a running Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Cherokee, raising strong concerns about connected cars.

The researchers said that the vehicle is vulnerable to hacking, giving access to some of the car’s vital systems to hackers who could potentially cause mayhem on road.

The vulnerability was discovered by security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, who hacked FCA’s Uconnect internet-enabled software, which allowed them access to other systems of the car.

Uconnect software is a wireless communications system, which has been introduced to several Fiat Chrysler cars since late 2013.

The system controls the car’s entertainment, navigation, remote ignition, the locking of doors and control of the headlights using an app. Experts claimed that the system is vulnerable, as hackers have to only work their way up to car’s IP address to get into the system and take control of the vehicle.

They also claimed that more than 470,000 cars made by the automaker are at risk of hacking including the ones that are driven on UK roads.

The experts used a laptop and mobile phone to gain control of the vehicles on-board system and were able toblast out cold air, turn the radio on full volume, activate windscreen wipers and turn on the wiper fluid. Of greater concern was their ability to slow the car which caused a tailback on the road.

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Wired.com reported Fiat Chrysler as saying: "Under no circumstances does FCA condone or believe it’s appropriate to disclose "how-to information" that would potentially encourage, or help enable hackers to gain unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems.

"We appreciate the contributions of cyber security advocates to augment the industry’s understanding of potential vulnerabilities.

"However, we caution advocates that in the pursuit of improved public safety they not, in fact, compromise public safety."

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