Hackers take control of Jeep and crash it into ditch

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Hacked Jeep Cherokee

High-tech car kit has already come under fire for security flaws, after many luxurious machines with keyless entry have been stolen as criminals trick the cars' security systems.

Modern cars are so stuffed with technology, however, that it's not just starting a car without the key that hackers can now achieve - researchers managed to seize control of a Jeep Cherokee and crash it into a ditch by hacking into the car's media system.

Using just a laptop and a mobile phone to take over the Jeep's onboard systems through the car's WiFi connection, hackers sat on a sofa 10 miles away from the car in the US state of Missouri managed to override the inputs made by the driver in what is believed to be the first breach of this kind, reports the Daily Mail.

Security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek managed to cut the engine's power and apply the brakes, causing it to spin. Following this security breach, the pair has suggested that more than 470,000 vehicles built by the Fiat Chrysler group around the world could be vulnerable to similar hacking techniques.

Wired writer Andy Greenberg had been driving the Cherokee around the roads of St Louis, Missouri and reported that cold air started firing out of the air vents and the radio came on at full volume. Hackers also managed to switch on the windscreen wipers and washers on, while an image of the hackers appeared on the car's screen.

Most scary of all, though, was that the hackers continued to slow the car just as Greenberg was approaching the highway, causing a queue behind the Jeep, before cutting the brakes.

The Wired journalist reported: "The most disturbing manoeuvre came when they cut the Jeep's brakes, leaving me frantically pumping the pedal as the two-tonne 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."

Taking control of the car also gives hackers more information: "They can track a targeted Jeep's GPS coordinates, measure its speed, and even drop pins on a map to trace its route," Greenberg continued.

This hacking attempt was made possible through Uconnect – an internet connected media system installed in Fiat Chryster cars since 2013, which features sat nav and phone compatibility.