WIRED recently uploaded a video showing two hackers gaining access to controls on a Jeep Cherokee through its Uconnect system.
Not only did the video go viral, it also prompted Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million cars vulnerable to wireless attacks.
This is the first time cars have been recalled due to the possibility of being hacked, which raises major questions about the future of “smart car” technology.
Uconnect was only supposed to help users with phone calls, GPS navigation and entertainment controls but, because of the wireless network it runs on, it unintentionally also left a security hole hackers could breach.
In a statement released by Chrysler, the company said,
The recall aligns with an ongoing software distribution that insulates connected vehicles from remote manipulation, which, if unauthorized, constitutes criminal action.
In order to upload the software patch on cars that fall under the recall, users will be given USB keys to plug into the cars' dashboards.
At the end of the statement, Chrysler also got defensive about Uconnect's security holes.
The company concluded,
The software manipulation addressed by this recall required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code.
Over the past few months, hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek claimed they figured out a way to hack a car using a wireless system set up miles away, and they say they alerted Chrysler to this nine months ago.
In the video, the duo was able to gain access to the car's radio, air conditioning, lock system and, more importantly, the engine controls and even the steering wheel if the car was driving backward.
You can watch the video here:
Chrysler released an update for Uconnect on July 16, but Miller and Valasek thought the update wasn't good enough, and as many as 471,000 cars were still vulnerable to hacks.