Fiat turns to hackers to track down car flaws

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If there’s something strange under your car’s hood, who you gonna call? Computer hackers!

Or that’s what Fiat Chrysler is doing. A year after hackers took control of a moving Jeep using a remote laptop, the Italian-American manufacturer has come up with an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ solution to fixing cyber security bugs in its vehicles: it’s paying computer whizzes for every flaw they can discover.

Fiat’s “bug bounty” programme pays hackers as much as $1,500 for alerting the company to any cybersecurity glitches they uncover in its vehicles.

It has signed up San Francisco firm Bugcrowd, which has about 30,000 techies on its books and already works with Tesla. 

Last year the electric car specialist was left embarrassed after researchers worked out how to remotely shut down the Tesla Model S by hacking the entertainment system.

Fiat’s move is likely to lure benevolent hackers to its cause rather than rival General Motors: the Vauxhall and Cadillac maker has only a voluntary hacking disclosure scheme where computer geeks can send in information if they fancy doing so.

It is also asking DIY car mechanics for help.

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July 13, 2016 |
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