You’ve probably read the WIRED story “Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It” by now. Either way, it was scary as hell. Today, the company behind Jeep has finally taken action and announced that it’s “recalling” 1.4 million vehicles because of what happened with WIRED’s Andy Greenberg. It’s not your typical recall, though…more on that in a second.
Greenberg’s original report starts out hot and heavy:
I WAS DRIVING 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold.
Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume. I spun the control knob left and hit the power button, to no avail. Then the windshield wipers turned on, and wiper fluid blurred the glass.
The recall isn’t really a recall at all, in that owners of Jeeps won’t be returning their vehicles. They’re being sent a USB stick with a software update to fix the exploits the above hackers attacked.
It’s not just the Jeep Cherokee that’s affected, though:
Affected are certain vehicles equipped with 8.4-inch touchscreens among the following populations:
2013-2015 MY Dodge Viper specialty vehicles
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
If you fall under that group, go here and enter your VIN to get the USB stick.
Still, Chrysler makes it sound like this isn’t a huge deal:
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. FCA US is conducting this campaign out of an abundance of caution.
Chrysler is trying to make us feel better by saying that the hackers featured in the WIRED story were really smart and had time to spend with the car. Unlike what…any other smart hackers on the planet?
I’ll take the Caltrain from now on, thank you.