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Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.4 million Dodge, Jeep, Ram vehicles over hacking concerns

After hackers successfully gained remote control over a Jeep Cherokee this week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling millions of vehicles that may suffer from the same security vulnerability. 

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    The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sign is seen after being unveiled at Chrysler World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Fiat Chrysler has decided to recall about 1.4 million cars and trucks in the U.S. just days after two hackers detailed how they were able to take control of a Jeep Cherokee SUV over the Internet, the company announced, Friday, July 24, 2015.
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Earlier this week, we reported on a vulnerability in Chrysler's Uconnect system that allowed two hackers to remotely control a Jeep Cherokee. (They could've chosen any number of vehicles from a wide range of automakers, but determined that the Cherokee was best suited for their demonstration.)

To counter some of the coverage of that event, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles quickly published a blog post reiterating that "there has not been a single real world incident of an unlawful or unauthorized remote hack into any FCA vehicle". However, the company also said that it would contact owners whose vehicleswere affected by the flaw and let them know about an important software upgrade available online or at their dealer.

Today, FCA stepped up its efforts to nip this problem in the bud. The company has issued an official recall for 1.4 million U.S. vehicles that may suffer from the security vulnerability. The list of makes and models includes:

  • 2015 Chrysler 200
  • 2015 Chrysler 300
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger
  • 2015 Dodge Charger
  • 2014-2015 Dodge Durango
  • 2013-2015 Dodge Viper
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups
  • 2013-2015 Ram 3500, 4500, 5500 chassis cabs

The recall is limited to vehicles equipped with 8.4-inch touchscreens.

FCA says that it "is unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation, nor is it aware of any related complaints, warranty claims or accidents" apart from the hacking demo reported in the media.

THE NEW FACE OF RECALLS?

The FCA recall is interesting because it's among the first we've seen intended to stop hackers from taking control of vehicles. It's also interesting because it can be carried out in so many ways:

  • Consumers can visit a dealership, where mechanics will apply the fix in about 30 - 45 minutes;
  • They can use the USB drive that will accompany the recall notice to apply the update themselves; or,
  • Those who don't want to wait can download the fix from DriveUconnect.com, put it onto their own jump drive, and install the upgrade that way.

In addition, FCA says that it has upgraded the Uconnect network to prevent hacks like the one we discussed on Wednesday. That upgrade shields owners from threats whether or not consumers have updated the software in their own vehicles.

Unsure whether your vehicle needs the update? Visit DriveUconnect.com and enter your VIN, or call FCA US Customer Care  at 800-853-1403.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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