Smart cars have so many advantages to them, but they also have their flaws, and one of those flaws is that they are considered to be more hackable than say a regular car. It is a rather scary scenario to imagine that you’re driving your car and minding your own business, when suddenly you lose control and someone else has taken over, maybe to drive you to a remote location to kidnap you or to rob you.
In fact this is pretty much what happened when security searchers at Keen Security Lab, a division of China’s Tencent, demonstrated how they could remotely hack a Tesla Model S. Through the hack, they were able to take over the infotainment system, open the trunk of the car, fold the car’s side mirrors, and even activate the brakes while the vehicle was in motion.
However before you get too worried, the researchers had already informed Tesla about the vulnerability and worked with them to patch it before releasing their findings. In a statement issued to The Verge, Tesla said, “Within just 10 days of receiving this report, Tesla has already deployed an over-the-air software update (v7.1, 2.36.31) that addresses the potential security issues.”
They also note how difficult it would be to pull this off given that the conditions needed to be just right. “The issue demonstrated is only triggered when the web browser is used, and also required the car to be physically near to and connected to a malicious wifi hotspot. Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly.”