There has been several media stories lately about the ability of Chinese hackers to compromise the technology systems on a Tesla and demonstrate their ability to partially control the vehicle. Most of these stories don’t provide much technical details, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some of the details to help you understand how the hack was performed, and what the hackers were able to control during their demonstration.
The demonstrated exploit works by compromising the car’s CAN bus by having a user inside the vehicle access a malicious Wi-Fi network via the car’s built-in web browser. The group also demonstrated how they were able to remotely control the hacked Model S by showing they were able to open the trunk, adjust the sunroof, adjust the mirrors, and apply the brakes while the vehicle is in motion.
This demonstration illustrates how cybersecurity weaknesses can impact internet-connected vehicles, and is a call to vehicle manufacturers to redouble their efforts to address these concerns. Tesla already patched the exploit before it was publicly announced with the Firmware 7.1 update. Let’s hope future vulnerabilities are addressed by the various brands before someone is injured or killed.
Video of the hacking demonstration: