Hackers from China were able to remotely take over the breaking system, door locks and other electronic features of a Tesla Model S. They posted a demonstration video showing that their attack works either while the vehicle is parked or being driven.
The team of researchers from Keen Security Lab, a Chinese technology company, includes Samuel LV, Ling Liu, Wen Lu and Sen Nie. The hackers had passed the details of the vulnerabilities to Tesla Motors before making the hack public. The researchers took over the systems of both the Tesla Model S P85 and Model 75D. According to them, the hack would work on other models too.
The hackers were able to take over the car wirelessly and remotely by accessing the car’s controller area network, called Can bus, the collection of connected computers inside every modern car that control everything from its indicators to its brakes.
The hackers used a laptop to remotely open the sunroof, move the seats back and forth, take over the central display and unlock the car. Another demonstration showed that they were able to open the truck and fold the side-view mirrors while the car was driven at low speed. Moreover, they could control the vehicle’s brakes from 12 miles away. Such an attack, performed against a vehicle driving on a highway could be life-threatening.
A Tesla spokesperson said that the automaker had updated the car’s firmware within ten days of receiving Keen’s report. He added that although the risk to Tesla customers was “very low”, this didn’t stop the company from responding quickly.”