WASHINGTON — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV waited 18 months to tell federal safety regulators about a security flaw in radios being installed in more than a million vehicles that hackers exploited in July to seize control of a Jeep. The automaker says it was working on a fix, and didn’t consider the problem a safety defect. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration saw otherwise. Eight days after being notified by the company, the agency pushed Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million cars and trucks — the first auto recall prompted by cybersecurity concerns. The episode came just days before Fiat Chrysler agreed to a record $105 million penalty to settle complaints about its recall performance on other issues, including malfunctioning air-bags. NHTSA faces its own criticism for failing to promptly get unsafe vehicles off the streets. Cybersecurity threats present a new dimension to the problem, one that critics say demands an even faster response to keep hackers from worming their way into vehicles and causing havoc. A Senate report in 2014 concluded that only two of 16 automakers had the ability to detect and respond to a hacking attack. “We want to make sure the automakers and regulators stay ahead […]
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