Chrysler Taking Flak for Crisis Management Methodology

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    Patching a security risk and creating more in the process

    The major Uconnect hack that left 1.4 million Chrysler vehicles in danger was pursued vigorously by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and to its credit, the carmaker acted quickly. The problem is, taking action quickly isn’t always the best route if Chrysler’s crisis management measures you employ, are going to draw more criticism.

    Instead of asking owners to bring their vehicles to a dealership for an update, Chrysler opted to mass-mail USB sticks that were to be plugged into the onboard system. On the surface, this is a great plan. After all, it keeps costs low, avoids clogging up dealerships with service calls, and reaches the largest number of vehicle owners with the greatest ease. One little problem – encouraging end users to plug USB drives they get via a less-than-secure method is a security expert’s worst nightmare. Security groups and end users alike were quick to take to social media to share their concerns, echoing the sentiment in this Tweet from @automotivesecurity:

    It would take significant effort for hackers to dupe vehicle owners into thinking they received a legitimate USB drive, but it’s far from unthinkable. And, if they were able to fool even a small percentage of people, the damage that could be done is immense.

    It’s a little reminder that even your crisis management plans need to be evaluated for the potential to create a crisis. Is it a bit paranoid? Absolutely. Will it save your rear repeatedly? You bet.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is vice president for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

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