The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed investigations into Chrysler’s parent company and Harman International Industries Inc. This follows the agency’s investigation into a software vulnerability that left Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) vehicles susceptible to hackers. The vulnerability came to light following a media report that described a Jeep’s radio, windshield wipers and transmission as being manipulated remotely by hackers. The news prompted a recall of 1.4 million vehicles in July and subsequent investigation.
The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) closed its investigation on Jan. 5, saying that it appears the automaker has remedied the problem, and its office could not find any complaints or field reports that indicated steering and braking effects like those described in the media report. In a statement, NHTSA said:
There were no confirmed incidents of hacking in any of the records reviewed by ODI. The remedies completed by Sprint and FCA appear to have eliminated vulnerabilities that might allow a remote actor to impact vehicle control systems.
The FCA vehicles under review contained a Harman Kardon “infotainment” system. Harman International acknowledged an additional 2.8 million vehicles, including those manufactured by Audi AG and Bentley Motros Ltd. contained a similar operating system. As a result, the NHTSA conducted an investigation into Harmon along with FCA, but found the vulnerabilities identified by FCA were not present because they used different hardware components and software than the FCA vehicles. The other Harden infotainment systems also included more security features to help prevent hacking, the NHTSA determined.
NHTSA said that based on its review of documents submitted during the investigation, it does not appear that other automakers were affected by the same software vulnerabilities as FCA. Coinciding with the news report about Jeep hacking, Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, or SPY Car Act. The legislation calls for the NHTSA, in cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to develop cybersecurity standards for vehicles, aimed at preventing and mitigating hacking and at ensuring data security.
Sources: Law 360 and The Detroit News
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