On Sept. 19, researchers from Chinese internet giant Tencent posted a video to YouTube demonstrating their ability to hack Tesla cars. Despite security concerns, future smart car users should not worry about the hacks.
From Keen Security Lab, a Tencent center located 12 miles from a Tesla testing space, researchers were able to hack a Tesla Model S, reports The Next Web.
After months of research, the researchers were able to control the car’s sunroof, door locks and the brakes by tapping into the car’s controller area network bus, according to PC World.
“As far as we know, this is the first case of remote attack which compromises CAN Bus to achieve remote controls on Tesla cars,” wrote one of the researchers from the Keen Security Lab. “We have verified the attack vector on multiple varieties of Tesla Model S. It is reasonable to assume that other Tesla models are affected.”
The caption for the YouTube video states “It is worth to note that we used an unmodified car with latest firmware to demonstrate the attack.”
This statement should give Tesla users and researchers a feeling of security despite the security hacks.
Two days after the hack, Tesla had updated the car’s software, according to BBC. Tesla constantly updates the software associated with its technology, including the smart car.
The new software should prevent hackers from accessing the car remotely the way that Keen Security Lab researchers did, unlocking doors without a key and controlling elements of the CAN Bus.
BBC analyst Dave Lee says the hacks were notable, but not a serious threat to Tesla.
“The good news is the security community is so far rising to the challenge of protecting cars from hackers. This hack was discovered by researchers who, as they should, went straight to Tesla before going public,” said Lee.
The hacks showed Tesla engineers where weaknesses lie. As a result, engineers know exactly what to fix while the Model S is in the beginning stages of testing.
“Tesla's cars are able to get over-the-air updates, meaning Tesla's engineers can automatically rectify the vulnerability in its cars without drivers needing to visit a dealership,” added Lee.
Tesla’s engineers are too smart to allow hacks to present an issue to the company and future buyers of its products.
All bugs associated with security hacks likely will be eliminated before the car becomes available to all.