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Your car could be vulnerable to hacking. But then, so is the stock market

Jul 22, 2015

A very young hacker?
Credit Raido / Flickr.com

Fiat Chrysler says it has a software remedy available to customers, after two hacking experts took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee using the Internet.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek used the Jeep's UConnect system to gain access to the moving vehicle, which was being operated by WIRED's Andy Greenberg.

The two hackers wreaked havoc with the car's operation, from the relatively benign actions of turning up the air conditioning and turning on the windshield wipers, to the much more frightening seizure of control of the transmission, brakes and steering. 

Eventually, they put the car in a ditch. You can read about what that was like here.

While some experts are calling the hack an urgent call to action for automakers, Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific says people should not get overly worked up.

"Everything from our traffic signals to the stock market runs on software these days," says Sullivan. "The world seems to run fine every day and we're not all in a panic or a frenzy," adding, "(the stunt) was highly sensationalized. They really went over the top to drive home their point."

Sullivan says what is important is for automakers to get patches to customers more swiftly. Customers of the roughly 471,000 Fiat Chrysler vehicles that the hackers say are vulnerable will have to download the fix onto a flash drive, and install it on their vehicles.

Sullivan says these fixes should be able to be downloaded instantly from the Internet to the vehicle.