Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will offer cash bounties to hackers who identify security vulnerabilities in vehicle software, becoming the first mass-market automaker to follow Tesla's example.
FCA will pay up to $1,500 to hackers, using a program on bugcrowd.com. Tesla has paid at least 135 such rewards to hackers, the website said.
The move comes a year after two professional hackers rattled the industry by exploiting a cellular vulnerability to remotely control some systems in a 2014 Jeep Cherokee being driven by a journalist. FCA quickly issued a software patch for several vehicle models to close the hackers' electronic pathway.
But hacker bounties are an afterthought. The interconnected nature of modern vehicles creates multiple potential entry points for malicious hackers to probe. The industry must design with security in mind from the start rather than rely upon add-on defenses to leaky systems.
The safety of vehicle owners and passengers must be paramount. Manufacturers should make vehicle security a top priority before an auto hack becomes overtly harmful.