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FBI Warns Automakers, Owners About Vehicle Hacking Risks

by Reuters /

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The FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a bulletin Thursday warning that motor vehicles 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 cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles," the agencies said in the bulletin.

Read More: Hacking of Connected Vehicles Shifts from Theory to Very Scary

In July 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV recalled 1.4 million U.S. vehicles to install software after a magazine report raised concerns about hacking, the first action of its kind for the auto industry.

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Also last year, General Motors issued a security update for a smartphone app that could have allowed a hacker to take control of some functions of a plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, like starting the engine and unlocking the doors.

In January 2015, BMW AG said it had fixed a security flaw that could have allowed up to 2.2 million vehicles to have doors remotely opened by hackers.

"While not all hacking incidents may result in a risk to safety — such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle — it is important that consumers take appropriate steps to minimize risk," the FBI bulletin said Thursday.

Read More: Hack to the Future: Experts Make 2016 Cybersecurity Predictions

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters in July 2015 that automakers must move fast to address hacking issues.

The Fiat Chrysler recall came after Wired magazine reported hackers could remotely take control of some functions of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, including steering, transmission and brakes. NHTSA has said there has never been a real-world example of a hacker taking control of a vehicle.

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