It looks like Tesla
has a few security vulnerabilities to address. That much became evident after Chinese hackers
participating in a hacking competition at the annual Syscan conference in Beijing took advantage of a vulnerability in a Tesla Model S electric car that allowed them to honk the horn, unlock the doors, and flash the headlights, all while it was being driven.
While Tesla didn't officially support the competition, it welcomed the challenge and promised to fix any "legitimate vulnerability" the hackers might find, The Telegraph
reports. Details of the vulnerability haven't been made public, though the functions the hackers took advantage of are the same ones offered through Tesla's smartphone app. Through the app, which connects via Bluetooth, drivers can honk the horn, lock and unlock doors, turn the headlights on and off, open the sunroof, and more.
It seems the hackers most likely were able to exploit the app, which would give them access to GPS tracking, air conditioning, and other functions. The most recent version of the app -- v1.2.2 -- was released on June 6. It's been Tesla's hope that if the Chinese hackers discovered a vulnerability, they would share the information with Tesla so that it could address the issue(s) before releasing the information to the public.
So far, there are no hard feelings -- Tesla said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune
that even though it didn't sponsor the competition, it supports "the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities. We hope that the security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith."