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Product recall for defective auto part affects many drivers

Wireless capabilities can provide many benefits. From being able to surf the internet on your laptop in a coffee shop to checking email on your phone, many Virginians have grown accustomed to wireless access. Wireless systems can also have vulnerabilities, however, as indicated by a recent product recall of 1.4 million vehicles by Chrysler after two security researchers hacked into a Jeep wirelessly.

According to recent reports, the vehicles Chrysler recalled have dashboard computers that appear to have a particular software weakness. By taking advantage of this software vulnerability, two researchers demonstrated that it was possible to hack into the affected vehicles' software systems and take control of the automobiles' brakes, transmissions, steering and other dashboard functions. Clearly, this is a possibility that is terrifying for drivers as well as tremendously troubling for Chrysler as it carries the potential for a major products liability lawsuit.

Vehicle owners included in the recall will be notified of the dangerous product and will be able to update their vehicles' software systems via a program update provided on a USB drive. The recall affects Chrysler drivers who own automobiles manufactured from 2013 through 2015 and includes Jeep Grand Cherokees, Dodge Durangos and Ram trucks, among other Chrysler vehicles. Additionally, Chrysler indicates that it has improved security at the network level in order to block subsequent digital attacks.

This automobile design defect and the possibility that someone else could gain control of your vehicle wirelessly while you are driving is understandably concerning for many drivers. Fortunately, Chrysler is taking what appear to be appropriate steps to rectify the situation before someone is injured. Nonetheless, such a defective auto part could make its way into a final product, making it troubling to many. Those harmed by a defective or dangerous product should understand his or her rights and options available for the losses and damages caused by such an incident.

Source: wired.com, "After Jeep Hack, Chrysler Recalls 1.4M Vehicles for Bug Fix," Andy Greenberg, July 24, 2015

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