Tesla Motor sent a patch to fix flaws in its connected car

Pierluigi Paganini August 07, 2015

Tesla Motors Inc admitted to have sent an update to patch security vulnerabilities discovered by a couple of cyber security experts.

Tesla Motors Inc has announced that it has distributed a software update to fix security vulnerabilities in the Tesla Model S sedan. According to the company an attacker by exploiting the flaw could take control of the Tesla vehicle.

The Financial Times reported on Thursday that a group of security researchers had taken control of a Tesla Model S and turned it off at low speed. Among the vulnerabilities discovered by the researchers, there is a flaw that could be exploited to control the vehicle as confirmed by the company.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article.  The hackers had to physically access the Tesla first, which made it more difficult than many other hacks. Once they were connected through an Ethernet cable, they were later able to access the systems from afar.This allowed them to take control of the screens. They were able to manipulate the speedometer to show the wrong speed, lower and raise the windows, lock and unlock the car and turn the car on or off.” state the Financial Times.

tesla model S

Tesla admitted the existence of the flaw and informed the press that it has already issued a software patch.

In an official statement, Tesla clarified that the hackers did not turn off the car remotely, but from inside the vehicle.

“Our security team works closely with the security research community to ensure that we continue to protect our systems against vulnerabilities by constantly stress-testing, validating, and updating our safeguards,” stated Tesla.

The duo of experts Kevin Mahaffey (Chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm Lookout) and Marc Rogers (Principal security researcher at Cloudflare) decided to test a Tesla vehicle due to the high reputation of the company in security matter. Tesla Motors is considered by the hacking community one of the company that spent the greater effort to produce safe and secure cars.

“We shut the car down when it was driving initially at a low speed of five miles per hour,” Roger explained to the Financial Time. “All the screens go black, the music turns off and the handbrake comes on, lurching it to a stop.”

Tesla confirmed that it has distributed the patch through an over-the-air update.

In April 2014, a security researcher reported to the Tesla company a series of security issues related to the S model that could be exploited by attackers to locate and unlock the vehicles.

The details of the hack against the Tesla vehicle will be presented by the experts at the next cybersecurity conference Def Con in Las Vegas on Friday.

This hack follows the clamorous experiment that allowed experts to hack a Fiat Chrysler Jeep Cherokee last month that caused the company to recall 1.4 million vehicles in the United States.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Tesla, hacking)

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