September 21, 2016 report
Security team demonstrates ability to hack and control some functions of Tesla vehicles
(Tech Xplore)—A team of Japanese researchers with Keen Security Lab (part of Tencent Security) has demonstrated an ability to hack into the computer that controls some functions of a Tesla Model S and then to take over control of some of those functions. They have published a report of their findings on their company website and have posted a video on YouTube showing their efforts in action.
The researchers report that over the course of several months, they found a way to access at least one of the onboard computers used in Tesla vehicles and then to take control of some functions while the car was parked and while it was moving. They further report that they were able to perform actions such as remotely adjusting the seat and opening and closing the sunroof on a test model. They also demonstrated that they were able to remotely unlock the car doors of a non-test vehicle and that they could also disable the touch screen in the same vehicle and control the windshield wipers, move a side mirror and open its hatch—all while the car was being driven. More ominously, they demonstrated an ability to stop the car from several miles away by taking control of the brakes. They also report that they were able to take control of car functions on several Tesla models and suggest that the same security hole existed in other models, as well.
The breach was discovered in the CAN bus, which is part of the control system for many of the vehicle operations systems in the car. Also, for the hack to work, the car had to be in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi hotspot that could be manipulated and used as a means of communicating with the vehicle.
Keen officials notified Tesla of their findings and report that the company acknowledged the security breach and set to work immediately fixing the problem. They report also that a firmware update has already been created that prevents access to the computer and that it is currently available to Tesla vehicle owners.
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