Fiat Chrysler voluntarily recalls 7,810 SUVs over software issues

Customers have been asked to check on the software updates site of the UConnect telematics system

Fiat Chrysler said Friday it is voluntarily recalling 7,810 SUVs due to a software glitch that could make the vehicles vulnerable to remote control.

Half of the vehicles, which are 2015 Jeep Renegade SUVs equipped with 6.5-inch touchscreens, are still at dealerships, the carmaker said in a statement.

The company downplayed the risk to drivers, saying it was unaware of injuries related to the problem and had received no complaints.

It further said "the software manipulation addressed by this recall required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code."

In July, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million recent model cars after two security researchers demonstrated they were able to access and control a vehicle while cruising on a road.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek showed at the Black Hat security conference how a Jeep Cherokee's brakes could be applied by exploiting security weaknesses in UConnect, a telematics unit used for entertainment, navigation and other controls.

This latest vulnerability involves different radios inside the vehicle, Fiat Chrysler said.

But it apparently also involves the same UConnect system. Fiat Chrysler said customers can check if their vehicle is affected by entering a vehicle identification number on the UConnect website.

Customers who have purchased vehicles will receive a USB stick containing the software update, similar to how the company dealt with the larger recall.

That method was criticized since it might be possible for attackers to trick people into installing some other harmful software on their car. But the company was seen as having little choice in its efforts to distribute the updates as widely and quickly as possible.

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Jeremy Kirk

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