Hackers took control of a car and crashed it into a ditch by remotely breaking into its dashboard computer from 10 miles away.
In the first such breach of its kind, security experts cut out the engine and applied the brakes on the Jeep Cherokee, sending it into a spin – all while sitting on their sofa.
The US hackers said they used just a laptop and mobile phone to access the Jeep’s on-board systems via a wireless Internet connection.
They claim that more than 470,000 cars made by Fiat Chrysler could be at risk of being attacked by similar means – including those driven in the UK. The breach was revealed by security researchers Charlie Miller, a former staffer at the NSA, and Chris Valasek.
He wrote: “The most disturbing maneuver came when they cut the Jeep’s brakes, leaving me frantically pumping the pedal as the 2-ton SUV slid uncontrollably into a ditch.
“The researchers say they’re working on perfecting their steering control – for now they can only hijack the wheel when the Jeep is in reverse.
“Their hack enables surveillance too: They can track a targeted Jeep’s GPS coordinates, measure its speed, and even drop pins on a map to trace its route.”
Independent security expert Graham Cluley said: “Note that the researchers believe that, although they’ve only tested it out on Jeeps, the attacks could be tweaked to work on any Chrysler car with a vulnerable Uconnect head unit.”