In a rare incident, a group of Chinese researchers were able to hack a Tesla Model X for a consecutive two years. They were able to create bizarre events in the car – from turning on the brakes remotely to getting the trunk and doors to open and close automatically while blinking the lights in tune with auto-streamed music inside the car that evoked an effect unanimously dubbed as “the unauthorized X-mas show.”
The complex hack that involved sending malicious software through the car’s web browser in a series of circuitous computer exploits had the car remotely controlled through both Wi-Fi and a cellular connection.
According to the director of Keen Security Lab at Tencent, Samuel Lv, the researches had already informed Tesla of their discovery in June and had the company patch their vulnerabilities within two weeks.
Thereafter, in a statement, Tesla said that it actively promotes and encourages this type of experiment so that it can prevent similar vulnerabilities from occurring in real time. The statement however clarified the air of any disturbance to customers from such exploits and that there hasn’t been a single customer affected by the same.
However, this is not the first time that such discrepancy on the part of Tesla had occurred. Sen Nie, lead researcher for the car hacking team at Keen Security Lab, said in a statement:
We informed Tesla of the vulnerabilities we found last year and they corrected them. This year our research found new vulnerabilities and we were able to reproduce the same remote control of the car.
He, along with his colleagues Ling Liu and Wen Lu, had presented a research at a conference of security researchers – the Black Hat Conference.
The team led by Nie is a part of Tencent, which is popularly regarded as the Facebook of China as its mobile messaging app have more than 930 million users. It is also the world’s foremost publisher of video games.