How safe is your Jeep? Vehicle theft is recently on the increase despite there being many security systems that manufacturers have installed on their vehicles. Many digital systems have proven to be hackable - over 30 Jeeps have been stolen over the past six months in Houston, Texas alone.
UConnect Infotainment Software System is a device by Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA). It is a new interactive digital system on your vehicle that, according to FCA, connects and communicates with other cars on the road. It can remember one's driving habits, incorporates a ‘Follow Me Mode' so that you can request to follow other vehicles, and has Waze- esqe map system.
In late July 2016, Houston Police Department apprehended two jeep hackers, Michael Arcee and Jesse Zelay. The police have been tracking the two for some time. They were arrested thanks to a surveillance footage that caught them in the act. The Jeep in question was a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Michael and Jesse were both charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Michael was separately charged with stealing, being in possession of a weapon, and unlawful delivery of a moving substance.
Sources say that the duo had been overriding the Jeep software system so they could start the vehicle remotely. However, it has not yet been substantiated whether the hackers use OBD II or USB to interfere with the UConnect Infotainment System. The FCA believes that the previous cases of car thefts are not related to the UConnect System.
When these vehicles are stolen, they find their way into Mexico, according to ABC 13 report. Homeland Security is set to investigate dozens of other cases as it believes this is only a small part of a larger problem.