Researchers hacked the Model S, but it requires physical access to the car. Tesla Motors has already fixed the vulnerabilities.
Another car got hacked by researchers. This time it the Tesla Model S. The hack is though far less severe as the Jeep Cherokee hack reported last month.
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Kevin Mahaffey co-founder and CTO of mobile security firm Lookout and Marc Rogers, principal security researcher for CloudFlare have spent two years to find security holes in the Model S.
The achieved to wire their laptop into a network cable behind a Model S' driver’s-side dashboard and start the car with a software command and drive away. They also managed to plant a remote access Trojan.
The researchers will present the Model S hack at the Def Con hacker conference in LAs Vegas this Friday. In the meantime Tesla has already updated all Model S cars over the air fixing all holes the researchers found.
A Tesla spokeswoman said to Wired: "Tesla has taken a number of different measures to address the effects of all six vulnerabilities reported by the researchers. In particular, the path that the team used to achieve root (superuser) privileges on the infotainment system has been closed off at several different points. The browser has been further isolated from the rest of the infotainment system using several different layered methods."
While the hacking o the Jeep was bad publicity, this new report about hacking the Model S is actually good for Tesla.
The researchers say that the Model S has a fail save concept that other car lack. When a Model S loses power it.
if power to the Model S gets cut while the car was in motion, the hand brake would tighten, and the car would stop if it was traveling 5 miles per hour or less. The Model S would go into neutral if traveling faster than this. But the driver would still retain control of the steering and brakes and be able to pull the car over. The airbags also would still be fully functional.
“That in itself I think is a huge achievement that I’d like to call Tesla out for,” says Rogers.
The other feature the researchers say that all connected cars should have is Over The Air updates.
“If you have a good patch process, it can solve a lot of problems. If you look at a modern car, it’s running a lot of … software and it needs to be patched as frequently or sometimes even more frequently than a PC, and if you have to bring your car into a dealership … every week or every month, that’s just a pain in the ass. … I think every car in the world should have [an OTA process] if they’re connected to the internet,” said Kevin Mahaffey.
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Connected cars are moving computers. The car industry has to treat them like computers and adopt Microsofts and Apple's concepts of security.