WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Saturday said it is investigating an estimated 2.8 million Harman Kardon infotainment systems used in Fiat-Chrysler vehicles to check for "software security vulnerabilities."
The investigation "is being opened to obtain information from the supplier of Chrysler Uconnect units to determine the nature and extent of similarities in other infotainment products provided to other vehicle manufacturers," NHTSA said in a summary of the probe. "If sufficient similarities exist, the investigation will examine if there is cause for concern that security issues exist in other Harman Kardon products."
Federal safety regulators said Harman Kardon infotainment systems supplied to the automaker had software security vulnerabilities allowing unauthorized third-party access to networked vehicle control systems.
"These vulnerabilities may exist in other Harman Kardon products," NHTSA said.
A Harman spokesman did not respond immediately to a query from Edmunds asking for comment on the probe.
A Fiat-Chrysler spokesman was contacted on Saturday, but had no immediate comment.
The federal investigation involving the auto supplier follows the first cybersecurity recall in the United States. That recall was prompted by a Wired.com report describing hackers wirelessly taking control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
The report said software allowed hackers to send commands through the Jeep's entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes and transmission.
NHTSA last week said it opened a review of Fiat-Chrysler's handling of that recall.
"A recall query has been opened to investigate the number and models of affected vehicles, the effectiveness of the recall remedy and whether any other security vulnerabilities exist in the recalled population," it said.
Edmunds says: Federal safety regulators are beginning to take a hard look at automakers and suppliers as fears about cyberattacks in vehicles continue to mount.