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Tesla Model S Hacked, Automaker Releases Software Fix

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/6/2015 Kelly Pleskot

Following reports of a Jeep Cherokee hack, Tesla proved vulnerable to a similar sort of attack recently. Cybersecurity researchers were able to take control of a Model S, and Tesla has now issued a software patch to address the issue.

Research

In a test, the two researchers were able to shut down the car when it was traveling at 5 mph, according to reports. "All the screens go black, the music turns off and the handbrake comes on, lurching it to a stop," Marc Rogers, one of the hackers, told The Financial Times. Unlike the Cherokee experiment, which was executed remotely, the Tesla hackers had to physically access the car and plug the laptop into its computers before taking control.

2015 Tesla Model S P85D© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla has confirmed details of the story and has already issued an over-the-air update to the Model S. Owners can download the updates via WiFi or a cellular connection.

"Our security team works closely with the security research community to ensure that we continue to protect our systems against vulnerabilities by constantly stress-testing, validating, and updating our safeguards," the automaker said in a statement to Reuters.

Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall for 1.4 million vehicles to address hacking concerns. Some vehicles equipped with 8.4-inch touchscreens had software vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to control certain parts of the car. Like in the Tesla hack, there were certain, but unique, limitations. The experimenters were able to cut the Cherokee's engine while traveling on the highway, but only at low speeds could they direct steering.

Source: Reuters, The Financial Times

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