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Cars vulnerable to remote hacking

Cyber security legislation for cars is introduced as Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles to patch dangerous vulnerability
Friday, August 7, 2015 - 07:00
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In what may be an industry first, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled 1.4 million vehicles to protect them from cyber security attacks. The recall came after Wired magazine ran an article detailing how hackers could compromise a Jeep Cherokee remotely.

"Launching a recall is the right step to protect Fiat Chrysler’s customers and it sets an important precedent for how NHTSA and the industry will respond to cyber security vulnerabilities," said National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration (NHTSA) administrator Mark Rosekind.

Cyber security is garnering more attention as automakers slowly turn their vehicles into connected, rolling smartphones that provide Internet access and other features.

"In the next few years we'll see widespread deployment of vehicles that can communicate with one another," says Tom Lehner, vice president of public policy at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). "Corresponding policy questions are going to arise out of that, from mundane things like what section of the spectrum do they communicate on, to issues around privacy and security."

In fact, two Senators have introduced legislation to require improved cyber security in connected vehicles via federal standards. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) drafted their legislation, in part, based on a report Markey released last year outlining the risks of Bluetooth and wireless Internet connectivity in vehicles. 

The Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act calls for NHTSA and Federal Trade Commission to develop cyber security and privacy standards.

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