A group of hackers in China claim to have discovered a flaw with the Tesla Model S, which allowed them access to the electric cars internal computers.
The news emerged via a social media post from Quihoo 360 at the SyScan360 internet security conference in Beijing. As part of a competition, Zhejiang University students were offered $US10,000 to gain access to the electric cars computers.
Reportedly, the hackers were able to take control of the vehicle’s operating system letting them honk the horn, unlock the doors and flash the headlights, even whilst the Model S was moving.
Although, details of the hack have not been released, it is thought access may have been gained through Tesla’s smartphone app. The app connects to the car via Bluetooth and allows drivers to lock and unlock the doors, as well as flash the headlights, sound the horn and open the sunroof via their mobile device.
Tesla has responded to the news saying they promise to fix any “legitimate vulnerability”. They also expressed that they hope the research can be used constructively to provide a more secure future.
A Tesla spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune: “While Tesla is not associated with the conference and is not a sponsor of the competition, we support the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities. We hope that the security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith.”
With vehicles becoming more and more connected, security is undoubtedly a concern. With the recent release of Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay the automotive world is likely to become ‘fully connected’ in the near future. However, this process must not be rushed if drivers are to be at the mercy of hackers.
Telegraph, The Register