Connected Cars: Mo Wi-Fi, Mo Problems



Tesla Motors Inc.’s Model S is an all-electric sedan that seems to be plucked from the future. It can pick up the driver on command, drive itself and even park itself. The car also comes with a massive 17” touchscreen panel that controls most of the car’s functions. Recently, however, a group of Chinese hackers were able to hack into a Model S and control the car’s function, without stepping a foot inside the luxury sedan.

Researchers from Keen Security Lab—division of Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd.—discovered security vulnerabilities in a Tesla Model S and were able to remotely control the car, while parked as well as in motion. The hackers were able to unlock the car, open the windows, open the trunk and even make the car stop while in motion.

After being contacted by the white hack hackers, Tesla released a software update that allegedly fixed the bugs. According to Tesla, the vulnerability was triggered only when the web browser in the car was used and required the car to be physically near a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. 

This isn’t the first time that a car has been hacked. In July 2015, hackers successfully infiltrated a Jeep Cherokee. Recently, researchers also hacked into a Mitsubishi Outlander by accessing the car’s built-in Wi-Fi network.

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