U.S. widens probe of car radios that may be vulnerable to hacks

August 2, 2015 – 7:37 am ET

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) — Harman International Industries Inc., which supplied car audio systems involved in a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recall in July, has been asked for information on other radios that may be vulnerable to hacking, the U.S. regulator said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website an estimated 2.8 million Harman Kardon “infotainment” systems may be affected — double the number specified in the Fiat Chrysler recall announced July 24.

The Harman Kardon investigation was opened on July 29, according to the agency. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind said on Friday that his agency is trying to find out how many automakers may have received radios from the same company that supplied Fiat Chrysler, Reuters reported, adding that Rosekind didn’t identify the supplier.

Harman Kardon’s website shows it provides sound systems for automobiles including BMW, Subaru, and Mercedes-Benz, as well to Fiat Chrysler.

The inquiry “is being opened to obtain information from the supplier of Chrysler Uconnect units to determine the nature and extent of similarities in other infotainment products provided to other vehicle manufacturers,” NHTSA said.

“If sufficient similarities exist, the investigation will examine if there is cause for concern that security issues exist in other Harman Kardon products,” NHTSA said.

The latest action by NHTSA follows Fiat Chrysler’s recall of 1.4 million cars and trucks equipped with the radios at risk of being hacked, the first formal auto safety campaign in response to a cybersecurity threat.

NHTSA has been under fire from Congress for not catching defects more quickly, given that the industry last year set a record with 64 million autos called back for fixes.

Contact Automotive News


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