Fiat Chrysler car radio hack threat investigated

The radio system of a Chrysler 200 vehicle. Image courtesy of Fiat Chrysler.
The radio system of a Chrysler 200 vehicle. Image courtesy of Fiat Chrysler.

An investigation is underway into the threat of hacking into US car radios in the wake of Fiat Chrysler recall.

The company which supplied car audio systems involved in a recall of 1.4m Fiat Chrysler vehicles due to the hacking of a Fiat Chrysler last month has been asked for information if other radios may be vulnerable to hacking.

Harman International Industries supplied the recalled Fiat Chrysler vehicles with car radios, which has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) to launch an investigation into the Harman Kardon brand.

NHSTA chief Mark Rosekind said that his agency is trying to find out how many automakers may have received radios from the same company that supplied Fiat Chrysler.

The NHTSA said on its website that an estimated 2.8 million Harman Kardon infotainment systems may be affected, which is double the number given in the Fiat Chrysler recall announcement on July 24.

The NHTSA investigation into Harman International Industries products is in direct response to Fiat Chrysler’s recall of 1.4 million cars and trucks which were equipped with the radios at risk of being hacked.

The recall was prompted after researchers were able to take control of the car through via its internet connections.

The NHTSA said the inquiry “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.”

“If sufficient similarities exist, the investigation will examine if there is cause for concern that security issues exist in other Harman Kardon products.”

The NHTSA inquiry comes amid the agency being criticised by the US Congress for not catching defects more quickly.

Last year the auto industry set a record number of recalls, with more than 64 million cars being called back for repairs.