Tesla was informed of certain vulnerabilities in the Model S by Chinese security researchers last year, and the company immediately fixed them. This year the same Chinese security researchers hacked Tesla car (Model X this time) by taking control of the brakes remotely. They were able to open the trunks and the doors and play music in the car’s radio.
Same researchers hacked Tesla car again
Samuel Lv, director of the Keen Security Lab at Chinese tech giant Tencent, stated that Tesla was informed about the loopholes in June, and the company fixed them in two weeks. The researchers hacked Tesla car using malware, which was sent to the car’s web browser in a series of circuitous computer exploits. That’s how they got the control of the car through Wi-Fi and cellular connections, notes azcentral.
Sen Nie, the lead researcher for the car hacking team at Keen Security Lab, stated, “We informed Tesla of the vulnerabilities we found last year and they corrected them. This year our research found new vulnerabilities and we were able to reproduce the same remote control of the car.”
Tesla said in a statement that it encourages such research to prevent potential issues. The company also noted that risk to customers from such issues is low, and no customer has ever been affected.
Musk acknowledges the threat
Tesla has been known for its cutting-edge technology and over-the-air software updates. Just a few days ago, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas stated that Tesla’s autopilot system has the capacity to render all cars obsolete.
In a note to investors, the analyst stated that Tesla’s automatic features will represent the future of the automobile industry. However, the analyst credited this achievement to “Tesla’s vertically integrated in-house software capabilities and its willingness to assume the risk of hacking make the difference.”
Musk seems to be aware of this and thus is working toward making their cars hack-proof. A couple of weeks ago at the National Governors Association, Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about cyber-security, among other topics. Musk also shared his approach on how the company is looking to gear up against such security issues.
Vehicles are now more vulnerable of being hacked than ever, due to the massive surge in connectivity features, which are in abundance in Tesla cars, making them favorite targets among hackers. Musk talked about the security areas and patches that the company is looking into once its cars becomes fully autonomous.
“I think one of the biggest concerns for autonomous vehicles is somebody achieving a fleet-wide hack,” the CEO said.
Musk went on to say that fleet hacking cannot be ruled out, and therefore, the company is working on that aspect. He stated that if a driver is in the car, he/she should always have overriding authority in every situation, adding that there should be a button for the driver to cut all connections to servers in case it has been hacked.
On Thursday, Tesla shares closed down 2.73% at $334.46. Year to date, the stock is up almost 57%, while in the last year, it is up more than 50%.