Chrysler’s software flaw causes PR disaster

Chrysler’s software flaw causes PR disaster

As technology grows, hacking becomes an increasingly bigger problem, and computers and phones are not the only targets — so are some Chrysler vehicles.


Last Tuesday, the automobile manufacturer Chrysler noticed a vulnerability in many of their 2013, 2014, and 2015 vehicles that are equipped with an 8.4 inch touchscreen. This vulnerability makes it possible for someone to remotely hack into the vehicles and control them.


A hacker could use this as an opportunity to cut the brakes, turn off the engine, mess with the electronics, and cause an accident in any of these hackable vehicles. Two days after the issue was discovered, Chrysler upgraded their network to prevent vehicle hacking from taking place.


After the upgrade, Chrysler faced pressure to take further actions, so they recalled 1.4 million vehicles. Those that took advantage of the recall were given a USB flash drive loaded with a software update for their vehicle. These updates given through the recall will give additional security to protect drivers against being hacked.


A Jeep is crashed into a ditch


So far, there has only been one accident resulting from a hacked Chrysler vehicle, and that was done out of research rather than malice. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were the two researchers who brought the vulnerability to light. They hacked into a Jeep and drove it off the road while the driver was aware that this was going to happen.


This PR nightmare caused a 2 percent drop in Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s stock value. The Sprint internet carrier saw an 8 percent drop in stock, since it’s their cellular network that connects Chrysler vehicles to the internet.


Chrysler will need to prove their vehicles cannot be hacked before they will gain back the trust of their customers. Now that this has happened to one car company, it’s possible that other companies will need to test their vehicles or suffer the same fate.


Will Chrysler have a quick recovery after this PR nightmare? Is this software update enough to protect drivers? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.


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