A pair of security analysts were able to stop a Tesla Model S using a security flaw they discovered within the vehicle’s operating system. Despite this, Tesla Motors is happy with the way it handled the discovery of the hack and the fix that was deployed immediately via a remote update.
The security analysts used a laptop hooked up to a network port behind the Model S‘s dashboard, highlighting a need for physical access to the vehicle for some time prior to deploying the hack and taking over the vehicle’s operation.
According to Heath Walker, Tesla Motors’ local marketing and communications manager, the company acted immediately to resolve the issue and took the information on to learn and then fix the problem.
“We welcomed the information. I think the three key things are that we provide software updates immediately and we did so immediately after finding out about this incident. That fixed every car in the market straight away,” said Mr Walker.
“Secondly, the people were in the vehicle, so it’s a direct element and not a hack that came via software or over the air. Finally, we separate our infotainment system from the drive system, which is a key and critical component that is separate to the other incidents of other manufacturers.”
“What needs to happen, I think, is a separation of these stories and what actually happens. If you have access to any car, you can potentially hot-wire it, so access to the car is pretty critical for any incident to occur in the first place and what they did whilst having full access took them a long time – and what they were able to do was quite minute.”
The Tesla security scare comes on the back of a major fix that was deployed by FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) in the USA after hackers were able to remotely control a Jeep Cherokee while it was moving.
Tesla attempts to remove the risk of security scares by hiring hackers to continuously check for flaws and weaknesses in the vehicle’s operating system. It also sends security updates and firmware revisions over-the-air, removing the need for customers to visit a dealership to be supplied with newer vehicle firmware.