Hacking Threat Looms over Smartphone Connected Vehicles

July 27, 2015, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Smart cars, the term of the future in the automotive industry, promises to pull out the best out of a fully integrated automobile. The core priority in this context is safety.

Forget all that. Two veteran hackers out there are showing the world that smartphone connected cars aren’t safe from hacking threats.

Charlie Miller, who worked as hacker for National Security Agency, paired up with Chris Valasek, IOActive researcher, for Wired to expose the vulnerability in current range of Uconnect-powered Fiat Chrysler automobiles.


The dummy hack was carried on a Jeep Cherokee, which showed no resilience in handing over its controls to the hackers.

The team broke in to the internal coding of the Uconnect system, gaining control of the entertainment system inside the Cherokee. Further, they were also able to spread the commands to steering, braking and even to the engines.

The hackers could easily probe into the connected system in the connected vehicles wheeling along the roads, letting them impost the sway over almost anything inside the automobile.

With the Jeep Cherokee experimented, Miller and Valasek were able to curb down its speed, control its entertainment system, and even control its steering wheel at low speeds.

Miller says that more than hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the country are vulnerable to such hacking threats.

It’s also not the first time that Fiat Chrysler vehicles are getting tied with hacking exposures. Nine months ago, security researchers pointed out loopholes in their Uconnect system, following which the company released an immediate update tweaking the same. They haven’t yet responded to the new development, though.

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