FCA Will Pay Hackers to Find Weaknesses in Its Vehicles' Software

The two hackers who broke into the Jeep Cherokee 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot
Being a hacker has fewer and fewer things in common with the legendary Robin Hood, but instead it almost starts to resemble a nine-to-five job like any other. And you've only got the big corporations to blame.
With the number of electronic devices we use daily, the mind of a hacker becomes a very valuable commodity, as long as you manage to convince these persons to work for you, instead of against you. Well, what these companies are actually doing is paying them to pretend to work against them. Sounds complicated, but it isn't.

Instead of hiring a bunch of people to endlessly test their products in search of any security vulnerability, the corporations cooked up a plan that works better for everybody. Since any self-respecting hacker would never accept a full-time job, the best way - and perhaps the only one - to exploit their skills is to leave them to their ways, and simply ask for a report every time they come across any sort of weakness. Of course, for the relationship to be mutually productive, they need to be paid for their findings.

Tesla was the first company to come with such a program, but now FCA - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles - is following in its footsteps. And FCA has more reasons than anybody to do so, after the case where two hackers managed to control remotely some systems of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee went public, raising a lot of questions over the safety of vehicles that rely too much on technology.

But since the solution isn't dumbing down the cars, but enhancing their security, FCA decided to pay bounties between $150 and $1.500 to any hacker that informs the company of security vulnerabilities using a program on (a service already used by Tesla Motors, among others).

FCA decided to move forward with this project after customers or other people tried to inform the company on various issues, so it was decided that making it official was the best move. “There have been a number of things where people have reached out to us through customer care and other contact methods where they highlighted things that were of interest,” Titus Melnyk, FCA's senior manager for security architecture, told Automotive News.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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