FCA in the US says it is the first full-line automaker to offer “bug bounty” financial reward for discovery of potential vehicle cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
FCA US LLC today announced the launch of a public bug bounty program on the ‘Bugcrowd’ platform to enhance the safety and security of its consumers, their vehicles and connected services.
“There are a lot of people that like to tinker with their vehicles or tinker with IT systems,” said Titus Melnyk, senior manager – security architecture, FCA US LLC. “We want to encourage independent security researchers to reach out to us and share what they’ve found so that we can fix potential vulnerabilities before they’re an issue for our consumers.”
Cybersecurity has emerged as a growing concern in the automotive industry as connectivity systems proliferate. FCA was embarrassed last year when hackers demonstrated the capability to gain control of a Jeep in use, from a base some ten miles away.
In a demonstration for Wired magazine the hackers were able to seize control of the Cherokee model’s operational systems.
The FCA US bug bounty program (https://bugcrowd.com/fca) leverages Bugcrowd’s crowdsourced community of cybersecurity researchers to promote a public channel for responsible disclosure of potential vulnerabilities.
FCA says the Bugcrowd program gives FCA US the ability to: identify potential product security vulnerabilities; implement fixes and/or mitigating controls after sufficient testing has occurred; improve the safety and security of FCA US vehicles and connected services; and foster a spirit of transparency and cooperation within the cybersecurity community.
“Exposing or publicizing vulnerabilities for the singular purpose of grabbing headlines or fame does little to protect the consumer,” added Melnyk. “Rather, we want to reward security researchers for the time and effort, which ultimately benefits us all.”
Bugcrowd manages all reward payouts, which are scaled based upon the criticality of the product security vulnerability identified, and the scope of impacted users. A reported vulnerability could earn a bug bounty of US$150 to US$1,500.
“Automotive cybersafety is real, critical, and here to stay. Car manufacturers have the opportunity to engage the community of hackers that is already at the table and ready to help, and FCA US is the first full-line automaker to optimize that relationship through its paid bounty program,” said Casey Ellis, CEO and founder of Bugcrowd. “The consumer is starting to understand that these days the car is basically a two ton computer. FCA US customers are the real winners of this bounty program; they’re receiving an even safer and more secure product both now and into the future.”
FCA US said it may make research findings public, based upon the nature of the potential vulnerability identified and the scope of impacted users, if any. Last year, FCA US contacted customers about a potential vulnerability associated with certain radios; provided the software update and permanently closed remote access to the open port on the radio, eliminating the risk of any long-range remote hacking – all before issuing a recall.
“The safety and security of our consumers and their vehicles is our highest priority,” said Sandra Hosler, cybersecurity system responsible, FCA US LLC. “Building on a culture of safety, FCA US has developed a cross-functional team comprised of engineering, safety, regulatory affairs, and connected vehicle specialists who are dedicated to collaboration and engagement with a wide range of industry professionals to build security into our vehicles and products by design.”