Auto Tech

How to update your Uconnect-equipped car and the keep hackers out

Own a new-ish Chrysler vehicle? You probably need to update its software.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

After Wired revealed security researchers were able take control of a Jeep through its Uconnect console, Chrysler was forced to issue a voluntary recall.

You can check if you're vehicle is part of the recall by visiting this website and entering your VIN number. Or if you don't have the VIN readily available (who does?), here's the complete list:

  • 2013-2015 MY Dodge Viper specialty vehicles
  • 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups
  • 2013-2015 Ram 3500, 4500, 5500 Chassis Cabs
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee SUVs
  • 2014-2015 Dodge Durango SUVs
  • 2015 MY Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger sports coupes

Owners of vehicles on the list have three options to patch the software: Request a USB drive preloaded with the fix, use your own USB drive to update the software or visit a dealership and let them handle it.

As ZDNet's Zack Whittaker pointed out, receiving a USB drive through the mail probably isn't the most secure option, leaving you with the option to go the DIY route or head to the dealership.

To do it yourself, you'll need a USB drive with 4GB of free space, and about an hour's worth of time to complete the process. The amount of time to carry out the process does depend on the speed of your Internet connection.

  • Visit this site and enter your car's VIN. You can find this on your insurance card, or in the bottom corner of front windshield on the driver's side of your car.

    Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

  • The site will determine if your car is affected, and if so, present you with a screen to download the software update. (I was never presented with the option to request a USB drive be sent to me. Your experience may be different.) Click on Get Started to continue.

    Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

  • You'll be walked through a tutorial, detailing each step of the process. Only instead of walking you through the process as you actually do each step, this tutorial is before you can actually download or install any files. Read through it if you want, but it's not necessary. Keep clicking Next until you get to the screen above.

    As you go through the tutorial, you'll notice mention of a program called Akamai NetSession Interface. This app solely exists to help you manage the actual download of the software update. I didn't install it, as it's only purpose is to help manage interrupted downloads and I wasn't going to install it for a single download. Besides, most browsers have similar functionality built in. Keep clicking next on the tutorial until you arrive at the following screen.

    At the end of the tutorial, click on the "here" link to go to the download page.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Scroll down the page until you find the Download button, only don't click it. Doing so will install that download manager I previously mentioned. Instead, click on link just below it which links to a direct download of the update in ZIP file format.

After the download finishes, open the ZIP file and move enclosed file (titled "swdl.iso" in my case) to your USB drive. Do not place the file inside a folder on the USB drive.

The final part of the process requires sitting in you car, plugging in the USB drive and putting you car in ACC mode.

After a few minutes of waiting for the car to read the USB drive, I was presented with a screen to update the software (as soon atop this post). Tap on Yes to proceed.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The console will restart, and when it comes back on a progress screen will be shown. Make sure to leave the car powered on until the process finishes. In my 2015 Durango, installing the update took roughly 16 minutes to complete.

If you run into any issues during the installation, you can call Uconnect customer support at 1-877-855-8400.