(Editor’s Note: This story isn’t new, it’s from 2016. However, the threat is real. Read on.)

In case you hadn’t yet heard, it is possible to remotely hack into and paralyze (as well as take over the driving of or use of the breaks) a Jeep Cherokee. And now that the FBI knows they are warning Americans to take the “risk of vehicular cybersabotage seriously.”1


Here’s part of their public service announcement, issued together with the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration:

“Modern motor vehicles often include new connected vehicle technologies that aim to provide benefits such as added safety features, improved fuel economy, and greater overall convenience. Aftermarket devices are also providing consumers with new features to monitor the status of their vehicles. However, with this increased connectivity, it is important that consumers and manufacturers maintain awareness of potential cyber security threats.

In much the same way as you would not leave your personal computer or smartphone unlocked, in an unsecure location, or with someone you don’t trust, it is important that you maintain awareness of those who may have access to your vehicle,” 2

The FBI and DOT also advise you:3

  • keep automotive software up to date
  • stay aware of any possible recalls that require manual security patches to your car’s code
  • avoid any unauthorized changes to a vehicle’s software
  • and be careful about plugging insecure gadgets into the car’s network

After hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek hacked a Jeep in July 2016, Chrysler issued a 1.4 million vehicle recall and mailed USB drives with software updates to affected drivers. (Researchers from the University of California at San Diego were also able to demonstrate that “a common insurance dongle plugged into a Corvette’s dashboard could be hacked to turn on the car’s windshield wipers or disable its brakes.”4)



If you suspect your car has been hacked, contact the FBI immedieatly as well as the cars manufacturer and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The threat is real. Please take it seriuosly.

Sources and References

  1. Wired, March 17, 2016.
  2. Wired, March 17, 2016.
  3. Wired, March 17, 2016.
  4. Wired, March 17, 2016.