Fiat Chrysler recalls 8,000 vehicles to prevent auto-hacking

Thousands of cars get called back to update car firmware against hacking attempts

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is to update nearly 8,000 of its cars because they are at risk of being hacked.

The car manufacturer said it needs to apply software updates to 7,810 Jeep Renegades sold in the US because of a problem affecting the 2015 Jeep Renegade SUV models equipped with 6.5-inch touchscreens, which are vulnerable to cyber criminals.

It added that around half of these are still on dealers' showroom floors so will be patched before they are sold to the public.

The issue affects radios in the cars that are "designed to protect connected vehicles from remote manipulation. If unauthorized, such interference constitutes a criminal act".

Fiat Chrysler downplayed the problem and said it was unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation.

"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," it said in a statement.

The problem is different from another revealed in July, which forced the company to recall 1.4 million of its cars after two security researchers demonstrated how they could access and control a vehicle via radio while travelling.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek showed how they could access functions of the car such as acceleration, windscreen and radio, rendering the driver powerless. The current flaw involves different radios inside the vehicle, according to Fiat Chrysler.

Customers who have already purchased the affected Jeep Renegade model will receive a USB stick with the software update and instructions on how to install the update.

Drivers can also visit http://www.driveuconnect.com/software-update/. Typing in the vehicle identification number will tell the driver if the vehicle needs updating or not.

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