Keen Security Lab, a China based hacking research group, announced they have discovered several security vulnerabilities on the Tesla Model S while in parking and driving mode.
The team composed of white-hat hackers (good-guy hackers that expose vulnerabilities for good rather than evil) has spent months conducting thorough research on the vehicle. In keeping with the global industry practice of responsible disclosure, Keen Security Lab reveals that they were not only able to confirm multiple vulnerabilities, but they also managed to exploit them, successfully implementing remote control on the Model S.
According to the group, they were able to unlock the Model S without a key, as well as remotely activate the brakes and bring the vehicle to a complete stop from a 19 km (12 mi) distance. The research was conducted on several Model S units and the team believes it’s possible that other Tesla models may have the same security weaknesses.
You can watch the full video of the demonstration below:
The team of hackers alerted Tesla regarding these vulnerabilities (again, because they’re good-guy hackers). As a result, the company has already fixed the software bug that allowed the hackers to take over the vehicle. Software updates are one of the conveniences of owning a Tesla, it seems. No need to visit a repair shop.
“Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday. “But this did not stop us from responding quickly.”
These findings however, underscore the importance of having and following the stringent guidelines proposed by the Department of Transportation for autonomous cars. There’s much to be considered as this technology becomes more widely available.