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Tesla cars can be hacked, says Chinese agency

Team OD  | Updated: September 23, 2016, 12:30 PM IST

While many car manufacturers are focusing on bringing autonomous driving technology to daily use, there might be repercussions too following the same. Recently, Keen Security Lab, a Chinese security research firm, reported multiple security vulnerabilities on Tesla vehicles. The team was able to hack and control various functions of the Tesla cars which include unlocking of doors, shifting of seats and opening of the trunk.


The security agency states, "With several months of in-depth research on Tesla cars, we have discovered multiple security vulnerabilities and successfully implemented remote, aka none physical contact, control on Tesla Model S in both Parking and Driving Mode. It is worth to note that we used an unmodified car with latest firmware to demonstrate the attack."

As seen in the video, the team connects to the Tesla model and gains remote access to the sunroof, turn indicators, wing mirrors, wipers, front seats and the bootlid. In addition, the team also managed to gain full control over the infotainment system as well as the instrument cluster. The researchers also displayed how Tesla models could be brought to a stop by a simple hack from anywhere in the world. The security hacks are not just for Model S but can be applied on the entire range, mentioned the research engineers.

Tesla Motors, however, was quick to address the same and fixed the software vulnerability with a security patch. The American car manufacturer stated that the breach could only be carried out when the car's web browser was in use. Also, the affected model had to be physically near and connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. "Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly," said Tesla in an official statement. The company also mentioned that it would reward Keen under its "bug bounty programme" that is intended to encourage outsiders to probe its systems for weaknesses.

Tesla has also issued an 8.0 software update that claims to have made the autopilot feature more precise and responsive as well as to maintain the right temperature inside the cabin of the car.

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