Two examples of Tesla’s Model S sedan were remotely controlled in a convincing display by a team of ‘white hat’ (non-malicious) hackers in China.
The team from Keen Security Lab posted their findings online in a video, which clearly shows both an ‘original’ Model S and the updated model being manipulated by one man with a laptop.
The hacker is able to unlock the doors, activate indicators, move the driver’s seat and even display the Keen Security logo on the infotainment screen and instrument display.
While underway in a controlled driving test, conducted in a deserted carpark, the hackers remotely open the vehicle’s boot and activate the windscreen wipers.
Later, a member of the Keen team located 20km away remotely slams on the Tesla’s brakes when instructed to do so over the phone.
Keen stresses that both the older and newer Model S were not modified in any way.
After Keen reported its findings to Tesla, the carmaker wasted no time in responding.
"Tesla has already deployed an over-the-air software update (v7.1, 2.36.31) that addresses the potential security issues," Tesla said in a statement.
"We engage with the security research community to test the security of our products so that we can fix potential vulnerabilities before they result in issues for our customers.”
Tesla said any risk to its owners was “very low”, but the carmaker was keen to ensure its vehicles had no security weaknesses.
The timing of the software security patch for Tesla customers in Australia has coincidently bumped into another software update, as the carmaker today outlined Version 8.0 - its biggest software update since the Model S was launched locally.