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Hackers Rewarded for Attack on Jeep

Masterminds Behind Experimental Jeep Hack Get New Jobs

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…or in GM’s case, hire them on to be leaders in cyber security. But let’s take a step back for a moment to recall a 2015 Wired Magazine special that focused on the ability of two hackers to successfully take control of a Jeep Cherokee remotely from miles away. It was one of the scariest and coolest experiments to have recently happened to both the cyber security and automotive world. With control of the transmission, windshield wipers, radio, and more, it became clear very quickly that the new computerized systems in our vehicles are not safe.

Since then, the two hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, have been hired on as cyber security experts, not by Jeep, who obviously needs their help, but by GM. The two were scooped up by the GM subsidiary Cruise Automation division. Believe it or not, this was not their first attempt at carjacking a vehicle via computer. This was however, the first time they advertised their capabilities and showed how easy it was to do wirelessly.

The best part about this is they can now test better systems and prevent future issues. It is nearly impossible to eliminate all risks, but new self-driving technologies are being tested currently in at least 3 different states. And please, don’t feel bad for Chrysler. Charlie and Chris are dedicated to the better cause, and did lend a hand to them to ease their problems.

As for any negative repercussions for the original publicized hack, there were none. FCA did release a statement implying strong discontent with them releasing such detailed information on the hack, a subtle guilt which likely played a decent role in the pair’s cooperation with the company afterward.

To take the matter a bit further, there have been more calculations and hacks since then. More and more cyber-schools, personal techies, and automotive experts are learning about the vulnerabilities of these new vehicles and how they can be made safer for consumers. They are learning how to hack them, control them, and teach others how to do the same. While most of the research is done out of hope to stop future hacks and develop safe technology, the numbers are still unnerving. The number of exposed and at-risk vehicles for FCA alone may be close to 500,000.

For those of us who are not driving technologically advanced vehicles, hold onto those trusty steeds as long as possible. That old civic hatchback may be one of the safest options out there after all.

Categories: Automotive News

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