Hackers took control of a Cherokee prompting the voluntary recall

Hackers took control of a Cherokee prompting the 'voluntary' recall

FCA US is, reportedly under pressure from government, conducting a voluntary safety recall to update software in approximately 1.4m US vehicles equipped with certain types of radio after it was shown this week hackers could gain control of the car.

"The recall aligns with an ongoing software distribution that insulates connected vehicles from remote manipulation, which, if unauthorised, constitutes criminal action," FCA said in a statement.

"Further, FCA US has applied network-level security measures to prevent the type of remote manipulation demonstrated in a recent media report. These measures – which required no customer or dealer actions – block remote access to certain vehicle systems and were fully tested and implemented within the cellular (mobile phone) network on 23 July, 2015.

"The Company is unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation, nor is it aware of any related complaints, warranty claims or accidents – independent of the media demonstration."

The statement added: "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. No defect has been found."

Owners affected by the recall will receive a USB device that they "may use to upgrade vehicle software, which provides additional security features independent of the network-level measures".

The affected vehicles have an 8.4-inch touchscreen and are:

  • 2013-2015 model year Dodge Viper
  • 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
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes

"FCA US has established a dedicated system quality engineering team focused on identifying and implementing best practices for software development and integration," the statement said, insidting the automaker was conducting the recall "out of an abundance of caution".

Separately, the Detroit News reported US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said on Friday the Obama administration would "push" hard to ensure the country's 250m cars and trucks are not suspectible to cyber hacking.

Foxx said the problem is an "issue" in wake of the I report that said researchers were able to take control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee SUV.

"We will push as hard as we can to ensure the security of vehicles is air tight," Foxx said. "It’s an issue," he added, noting that this may become a bigger issues as connected vehicles grow on the nation's roads. "The time to get on this is right now."

Two senators this week introduced legislation requiring NHTSA to set new rules to guard against cyber hacking. Foxx said it was critical that automakers and the government work closely together to address the issue, the Detroit News said.