Hackers prove how it is possible to takeover Jeep

Byby Katie Utehs KGO logo
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Hackers prove how easy it is to takeover Jeep
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Security hackers recently proved they could be in complete control of a Jeep Cherokee miles away.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Security hackers stall a Jeep on the highway after they say the auto industry failed to listen to their warnings about security flaws. ABC7 News looks into which cars are vulnerable and how it can be fixed.

Jeeps are known for off-roading, but security experts say newer Cherokee models can be driven right off the road... remotely.

Technology analyst Rob Enderle said, "You could take a car off the bridge, you could drive it into a school bus, you could turn these into land based cruise missiles and you don't want that."

Two hackers put a reporter for Wired Magazine on the road and they took over from their laptops miles away. The reporter in the Jeep couldn't stop the car, couldn't use the brakes, transmission or even the steering.

"We've known of this problem and the car companies weren't taking it serious enough and I think these folks are just trying to show case that it's time to get their act together and get this stuff fixed," Enderle said.

Days before the Wired article, Chrysler released a software update that customers can download themselves or you can bring your vehicle into your local service center. However, dealerships ABC7 News spoke with said they have not yet received any calls from concerned customers.

Enderle says hackers break in through the entertainment system and when that system is linked to the controls you have a problem.

"Most the cars on the road today have the two-system's separate so they're not exposing," Enderle said.

His other warning to auto makers is self-driving cars need to be secured too.

"All these automatic cars they're talking about and all these self-operating cars and I personally don't like that whole concept," San Jose resident Joe Berg said.

Chrysler is providing the software patch for free.