The Wired story about remotely taking control of a Jeep Cherokee has scared Chrysler owners around the world. Now the company takes preemptive measures to make their cars save again.
Earlier this week Wired Magazine feature an incredible story of two hackers remotely controlling a Jeep Cherokee.
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Journalist Andy Greenberg wrote: "I was driving 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold. Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system.
Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume. I spun the control knob left and hit the power button, to no avail. Then the windshield wipers turned on, and wiper fluid blurred the glass.
As I tried to cope with all this, a picture of the two hackers performing these stunts appeared on the car’s digital display: Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, wearing their trademark track suits. A nice touch, I thought."
This is where it was still safe, things got more dramatic as the hackers activated brakes and killed the engine on the highway.
Chrysler has been downplaying the hack. They have been in contact with the hackers ahead of the release of the article and prepared a software fix. The software update is available as a download.
Today Chrysler announced to make it easier for customers to install the update. Chrysler is mailing out 1.4 million USB sticks with the security update to customers.
The unusual recall aligns with the ongoing software distribution that insulates connected vehicles from remote manipulation, which, if unauthorized, constitutes criminal action says Chrysler.
The company adds: "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."
Not only Jeep Cherokee SUVs are affected. The Chrysler made cars needing the software update include 2013-2015 MY Dodge Viper specialty vehicles, 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups, 2013-2015 Ram 3500, 4500, 5500 Chassis Cabs, 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs, 2014-2015 Dodge Durango SUVs, 2015 MY Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans and 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes.
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The software update is available here (VIN required).