Dealers Serve on Front Lines in Vehicle Hacking Battle, FBI Says | Edmunds

Dealers Serve on Front Lines in Vehicle Hacking Battle, FBI Says


WASHINGTON Car dealers can help consumers resolve potential vehicle cyber-security concerns, a recent FBI bulletin said.

"An important step is being able to diagnose whether any anomalous vehicle behavior might be attributable to a vehicle hacking attempt," said the announcement, which was made in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Contact your vehicle manufacturer or authorized dealer and provide them with a description of the problem so that they can work with you to resolve any potential cyber-security concerns."

The warning said that cars and trucks are "increasingly vulnerable" to hacking.

"The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers — of vehicles, vehicle components and aftermarket devices — to maintain awareness of potential issues and cyber-security threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles."

Vehicle hacking happens when someone with a computer seeks to gain unauthorized access to vehicle systems for the purposes of retrieving driver data or manipulating vehicle functionality, the FBI said.

Last July, Fiat-Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles, including the 2014-'15 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee, to fix software following a Wired magazine report that raised concerns about hacking.

Of particular concern to federal officials are online vehicle software updates.

"It is possible that criminals may exploit this delivery method," the bulletin said. "A criminal could send socially engineered e-mail messages to vehicle owners who are looking to obtain legitimate software updates.

"Instead, the recipients could be tricked into clicking links to malicious websites or opening attachments containing malicious software."

The malware could be "introduced into the owner's vehicle when the owner attempts to apply the update via USB."

Consumers are urged to verify recall notices and avoid downloading software from third-party websites or file-sharing platforms.

Edmunds says: Some important tips from law enforcement and federal safety regulators in the age of hackable vehicles.

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