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Chrysler security glitch raises questions for local drivers

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Some local drivers are speaking out after an online video showed a security flaw in Chrysler’s hands free communications system. But a Noblesville car dealer says drivers shouldn’t be too concerned, especially now that Chrysler is offering a fix for the problem.

Two men recently teamed with a Wired Magazine writer to hack into a car he was driving on a St. Louis highway. The goal of their experiment: prove that there are security glitches in newer Chrysler cars.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely controlled a 2014 Jeep Cherokee’s radio and windshield wipers as the writer-aware of the experiment-drove it down the highway. The hackers even cut the transmission temporarily.

“That’s why we’re working,” Miller said. “To figure out vulnerabilities, weaknesses. Get them fixed.”

Miller and Valasek said a flaw in the Uconnect system in some Chrysler cars made the hack possible. According to the hackers, other Chryslers with Uconnect are vulnerable.

Newer Cherokees like the ones in the video are some of the top sellers at the Kahlo Chrysler lot in Noblesvile.

But owner Kevin Kahlo said the video won’t hurt his sales. Chrysler is offering a free update that company officials say fixes the problem.

“It’s a matter of flash, boom, it’s gone,” Kahlo said. “Then you don’t have to worry about it. We can do it if they want to, or they could do it themselves.”

Kahlo said the odds of someone hacking into your car are slim to none.

But the slim odds aren’t stopping local driver Kristen Cash from wondering if something similar could happen with her Hyundai Sante Fe.

“I think it will definitely make me look into security precautions that are in place or that they’re working getting into place,” Cash said. “Or caution me from getting anything new if it doesn’t have the proper security set up.”

A passenger in her car, Sean Cash, said he was alarmed by the Wired Magazine report but he isn’t overly concerned because he frequently updates the system on his 2014 Dodge Charger. He said the glitch will prompt him to think more about cyber security when shopping for cars in the future.

Tuesday, two U.S. Senators introduced a bill that would revamp national safety and privacy standards for automobiles.